Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is a set of instructional strategies for teaching, learning and understanding reading. With CSR, students work together in collaborative groups to read text and apply comprehension strategies to better understand science, social studies and language arts content. CSR includes methods of monitoring comprehension, reviewing and synthesizing information, asking and answering questions, and taking steps to improve understanding.
Effective: CSR is a set of research-based best practices intended to improve reading comprehension. It enhances content learning, facilitates access to higher-level text, and promotes student engagement. CSR also improves students’ self-reliance by developing their collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills.
While designed to support a wide variety of learners, this set of strategies is especially helpful for English language learners (ELLs), students with learning disabilities and struggling readers thereby supporting their ability to read at grade-level and above.
Collaborative: One of the unique aspects of CSR is that it utilizes cooperative learning. Each student performs a distinct role that helps the group use CSR. Students form their own questions, share in rich discussion and help each other understand challenging text.
Strategic: CSR combines two effective teaching techniques—reading comprehension strategy instruction and cooperative learning—encouraging students to actively participate in their own education.
Also, when students comprehend and discuss the content they are reading and think critically, teachers are then able to acquire a clear picture of how well their students are understanding and applying their knowledge. CSR provides students the skills and tools to access and understand deep content knowledge; it cements their learning.
Holistic: CSR is not a pre-packaged curriculum that becomes outdated post-purchase. Rather, it is designed to fit with new textbooks and curriculum as they are adopted. Furthermore, CSR is unique because it is implemented in science and social studies classes, not only language arts. This shared-responsibility model supports a collaborative support structure and common language that can be shared between classes to help excel Denver Public Schools middle school students’ reading comprehension.