As our students become familiar with the structures of reading (i.e. read aloud and shared reading), we want to provide scope for discussion around reading. In the book, Strategies That Work there is a section around talking about reading. Harvey and Goudvis (2007) mention the importance of maintaining purposeful talks around reading to really build comprehension. They list out turn/talk, paired readings, Jigsaw Discussion, book clubs, literature circles, study groups, and small group shares as ways to achieve this. I write about many of these as discussion strategies under speaking and listening, but the Jigsaw Strategy is one that deserves its own space.
How does the Jigsaw Strategy work? Reading Rockets has a phenomenal explanation and walk through of Jigsaw in action. The strategy is quite simple. Students are divided into teams of 4 to 6. This group is called the home group. These groups should be heterogenous groups. Each student in that group is assigned a different reading related to a central topic. For example, one student is assigned to read about famine in Bangladesh and another is assigned about child labour in Bangladesh. Therefore, if there are four students in a team, there have to be four different readings. These students then go to their expert groups. They read about their specific topic and discuss it in their group. You can have them complete a graphic organizer or take notes on their text. Thereafter, students come back to the home group to share their "expert" findings.
I really find this strategy useful because it can easily tie in learning from other areas such as humanities, social sciences, and sciences while also building comprehension skills. The strategy is also lauded for ensuring differentiation happens in a really productive manner. You can pair students of similar learnings in one expert group with that group's learning level while another group focuses on a text of a different level. However, as students return to their home groups, all members of the group become experts and bring forward something to the discussion. This avoids one student from becoming the "expert" or taking up too much space, which often becomes an issue in other forums. Although the implementation of Jigsaw requires effort and time, the long-run impact is marvellous.