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Lesson Plan

Using Student-Centered Comprehension Strategies with Elie Wiesel's Night

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Using Student-Centered Comprehension Strategies with Elie Wiesel's Night

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Ten 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Patricia Schulze

Yankton, South Dakota


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Working in small groups, students use reciprocal teaching strategies as they read and discuss Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's memoir Night. Everyone in the classroom takes a turn assuming the “teacher” role, as the class works with four comprehension strategies: predicting, question generating, summarizing, and clarifying.

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Reciprocal Teaching Guidelines: This printable resource outlines and describes the four types of questions students prepare during a reciprocal teaching activity.

Self-Reflection: Taking Part in a Group: Using this online tool, students describe their interactions during a group activity, as well as ways in which they can improve. Students can add rows and columns to the chart and print their finished work.

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Reciprocal teaching allows students to take more responsibility for their learning by participating in the classroom as equal partners with everyone, even the teacher. Rick VanDeWeghe describes reciprocal teaching as "a teacher and student or group of students read a portion of text and then take turns "teaching" that segment of text to one another. In the dialogue about the text, the "teacher" summarizes the content, generates questions about the content, clarifies, and predicts." (86). To focus class exploration, the discussion relies on four comprehension strategies: predicting, question generating, summarizing, and clarifying. This student-centered technique stimulates discussion and promotes interaction in the classroom community while reinforcing comprehension strategies that students can rely on when reading independently.

Further Reading

VanDeWeghe, Rick.  "Research Matters: What Kinds of Classroom Discussion Promote Reading Comprehension?"  English Journal 96.3 (January 2007): 86-91.

Read more about this resource


Palincsar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. "Interactive Teaching to Promote Independent Learning from Text." The Reading Teacher 39.8 (April 1986): 771-777.

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