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Kaye Lowe

Monitoring and Assessment

Four Resources Guideposts

First Steps Reading Developmental Continuum

Analysis of Reading Strategies

Read and Retell

Classroom Organisation

Collaborative Cloze can be conducted as a small multi-ability group activity or done as a read aloud strategy with the whole class. Either way, the text is first read aloud ensuring readers have the necessary scaffolding to access meaning from the text.

By collaborating and discussing options to complete the text, all students benefit from participating irrespective of their reading level. Less confident readers may bring a lot of prior knowledge to the discussion, whereas more competent readers may provide the necessary scaffolding to process the text.

Engagement: Empowering Teachers with Successful Strategies

Collaborative Cloze is an effective comprehension strategy that demonstrates to readers how the reading process works. The process draws on the learner’s knowledge of the content, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling.

Through Collaborative Cloze students discuss and share feedback about possible word options they are unpacking, their knowledge of the reading process, and share their multiple understandings of the text using the language of the text and topic.

This strategy encourages risk-taking and while there are many substitutions that are justifiable, readers are encouraged to examine the appropriateness of the choices they make according to the group’s combined knowledge of the content and topic. When completed as a group process, less confident learners become aware of the strategies that good readers use when predicting unfamiliar words.

Engagement: Engaging Students in Purposeful Social Practices


Collaborative Cloze


Any adolescent fiction/nonfiction, novel, short story, song, poem

  • encourages students to make sense of texts using the four cueing systems
  • builds on the knowledge students bring to the reading situation
  • teaches students what to do when confronting unknown words
  • reinforces that reading is about meaning making and not necessarily a perfect process
  • provides a model of what good readers do when processing print – they read ahead, reread, predict on the basis of meaning, guess, test out possible options and verify that their predictions make sense – and scaffolds less confident readers
  • scaffolds and assists readers to deal with the demands of new texts and topics
  • exists as a complete unit of meaning
  • may link with KLAs for
    • revising a topic already studied
    • assessing prior knowledge of a topic to be investigated

Possible texts suitable for use by chapters

‘Holes’ by Sachar, L. (1998) New York: Dell Yearling.

‘Seedfolks’ by Fleischman, P. (1997) New York: Harper Collins.

‘Voices in the Park’ by Browne, A. (1998) New York: DK Publishing.

Collections of short stories

Wilding, M. (Ed.) (1994) The Oxford Book of Australian Short Stories. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Butters, P. & Webby, E. (Eds.) (1993). The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.



Four Roles/Resources of the Reader

Based on the Four Roles/Resources of the Reader developed by Freebody and Luke (1990), Collaborative Cloze involves students in the following repertoire of purposeful social practices:

Code breaker

Decoding the codes and conventions of written, spoken and visual texts, eg:

  • focuses on and discusses a range of possible options that draw on knowledge of words
  • explores the various functions of words in terms of syntactic appropriateness
  • focuses on particular contextual clues to assist in eliminating inappropriate responses and finding the best fit

Text user

Understanding the purposes of different written, spoken and visual texts for different cultural and social functions, eg:

  • listens to and shares the experiences of texts with others
  • discusses options leading to increased understanding of how texts work and what words mean
  • considers how the pragmatic nature of texts, eg presentation, contribute to and create textual meaning

Text participant

Comprehending written, spoken and visual texts, eg:

  • draws on the four cueing systems to find possible options that fit the meaning of the text
  • tests out predictions with others
  • listens to interpretations and explanations of others in order to enhance comprehension skills
  • understands that reading is an inquiry process built around the knowledge and experiences of readers

Text analyst

Understanding how texts position readers, viewers and listeners, eg:

  • recognises the positions that readers take in constructing the meaning of a text
  • understands that reading is an interpretative process and there is not necessarily one right response in comprehending texts
  • analyses the context and nuances of specific texts while drawing on individual experiences

Four Resources Guideposts

Collaborative Cloze Guideposts provide a useful assessment tool.

Implementing the Strategy


Select a short text – fiction or non fiction, songs, poems. (See suggestions and websites above.) In selecting a suitable text, avoid material that is dependent upon what has preceded it. Make sure the text can stand alone and is approximately 250-300 words.

Enlarge the text on the photocopier to fit on A3 paper so that the group can see the text OR if the text is being used with the entire class, make an overhead of the text.

Leave the first and last sentences intact. The first sentence serves to establish a context. Eliminate no more than every fifth word. Eliminate approximately 50 words in total.

Draw lines (blanks) where words are missing. These lines should be of uniform length. If a particular word (that is, one that is content specific) is required, the shape of the word could replace the line. When these words are eliminated, the text becomes an effective means of revising the unit of work and the terminology used.


In small groups:

  1. Students read the text through once together saying ‘something’ when they come to a space.

  2. They then discuss possible word options. A group member lists responses in the space provided. The group then discusses the most appropriate option and circles the ‘best’ response.

  3. Groups bring their responses to a central location and all groups read aloud responses simultaneously. The substituted words are read as they proceed through the text.


  1. Using the overhead, students read through the text silently. Ask students to read aloud the text substituting any word that fits when they come to a blank space. Do not stop at the word. Allow students to hear the variety of responses.

  2. Discuss the options made by groups – ‘Your group used the word … Why did you decide that was the best word for that space?’

  3. Discuss the process used for deciding on words. Explain that the process is the same as readers use when they come to unfamiliar words. Strategies such as: reading on, rereading, using context clues, guessing, predicting are all effective means of understanding and building vocabulary skills and comprehension.


Tierney, R.J. & Readence, J.E. (2000). Reading strategies and practices: A compendium. (5th Ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Weaver, C. (1994). Reading process and practice: From socio-psycholinguistics to whole language. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

Allen, J. (2000). Yellow brick roads: Shared and guided paths to independent reading 4-12. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse.

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