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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) - Topic 44

What is it?

Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is a reading comprehension program that uses explicit instruction, group collaborations and scaffolding.  By breaking up the stages of reading, (before, during, and after) and applying specific steps in order to proceed from one stage to the next a “reading routine” is created. CSR places an emphasis on small group work and teacher-assisted learning in turn.  Scaffolding is used to present a new text and teach students how to break up reading into stages.  By first completing the task in full, and then slowly allowing more student control over the assignment and less teacher instruction.  Delegating roles and responsibilities to each member of a group and finding opportunities for all to participate (eg. Leader, Clunck expert, Gist expert, Question expert, Encourager and Time keeper) introduces the group element of CSR.  Each role focuses on a different aspect of the text and together the group guides one another through the clunks (difficult words or phrases) and toward comprehension.  Emphasis is put on peer-mediated learning, but also on insuring that all students’ have the skills necessary to accomplish peer-mediated learning.  

Why is it important?

CSR is a comprehensive reading program that incorporates different teaching and learning styles.  As an evidence-based practice it is a tool that has been proven to be effective and supported by research.  CSR is a tool that can be used with a magnitude of texts and with multiple different learners in a given classroom.  Scaffolding is used to address potential LD students and give them the opportunity to learn a routine to use when reading on their own.


Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1989). Cooperation and competition: Theory and research. Edina,

MN: Interaction Book Company.

Klingner, J. K., Vaughn, S., Dimino, J., Schumm, J. S., & Bryant, D. (2001). Collaborative strategic

reading: Strategies for improving comprehension. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.

Klingner, J. K., Vaughn, S., & Schumm, J. S. (1998). Collaborative strategic reading during social studies in heterogenous fourth grade classrooms.  The Elementary School Journal, 99, 3-22.

Web Links

Star Legacy Module on CSR

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