Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC) is a cooperative learning program designed to teach reading and writing to students in the upper-elementary grades. In CIRC, students work in 4-5 member mixed-ability teams to help each other learn comprehension and writing skills. Teams can earn recognition based on the progress made by team members on regular assessments and compositions. After teacher instruction on reading comprehension strategies, students work with teammates on activities related to novels or factual texts in which they make predictions, write summaries, make and interpret graphic organizers and outlines, and answer questions relating to characters, settings, problems, and problem solutions. They take turns reading to each other and work with each other on writing, vocabulary, and fluency activities. As used with English learners, CIRC has a strong emphasis on vocabulary, clarity in directions, use of pictures, and opportunities for students to discuss using the language of the school. CIRC has been modified to reflect 21st Century Standards, and is now implemented as Reading Wings.
CIRC has been evaluated with English learners in a study in Texas. That study reported an effect size of +0.30 on state tests.
CIRC (Reading Wings) is provided by classroom teachers during time usually allocated to Language Arts/Reading, so no additional staff is required.
Professional development is provided through a combination of onsite workshops, email and telephone support, “just-in-time” online resources, and onsite observations and consultation. Two days of workshop participation per teacher are required to begin implementation. A strong focus is the development of regular peer support structures within the school.
No technology is required. Many student resources and teacher resources are available via the internet, so technology resources available in the school can be helpful.