Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Using Collaborative Reasoning to Support Critical Thinking

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Using Collaborative Reasoning to Support Critical Thinking

Grades 3 – 5
Estimated Time Four 50-minute Sessions
Lesson Author

Rebekah Kane

Carlock, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Designed as a starting point to build trust and respect, as well as to encourage and support conversations that evoke emotion and change, this lesson will invite students to participate in small group Collaborative Reasoning about issues of social justice and diversity. Students will read articles and answer questions that spur them to think critically about issues and discuss with others, using evidence and experiences to support their personal beliefs. Each group will create an online Persuasion Map to share whole class.

back to top



back to top



Zhang & Doughtery Stahl (2011) state that “Collaborative Reasoning (CR) effectively provides a forum for extended meaningful communication and promotes language development and thinking skills of all students” (257). Collaborative Reasoning is peer-led with students managing their own discussions and having control over what they say within small groups, which increases personal engagement. The purpose of using this model is for students to “cooperatively search for resolutions and develop thoughtful opinions about the topic” (257). Collaborative Reasoning works well with all kinds of students, no matter their gender, race, socioeconomic status, or other domains of diversity.

Zhang, Jie, and Katherine A. Doughtery Stahl. “Collaborative Reasoning: Language-Rich Discussions for English Learners.” The Reading Teacher 65.4 (2011): 257-260. Print.

back to top