Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning


K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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This strategy breaks up complex readings into equal parts to be shared between multiple students. Doing so encourages students to share responsibility for each other's learning while developing group communication skills and practicing close reading.



Students are assigned to read one portion of a text and become the “expert” of that section. Once students have read their sections thoroughly, they group together, one "expert" from each section, to share their notes.  The grouping can be done many ways. Groups can be selected at the beginning of the activity and can then volunteer or be assigned their portions of text at that point. Students could also divide into as many groups as there are sections of reading and each group could take a section, working together to become "experts." After thoroughly exploring their sections, groups could then split up into mixed groups, where each student in the group is an "expert" for a different section.


  1. Divide a reading into equal parts and number the sections.

  2. Have students count off up to the number of sections the reading has. This number signifies the section of the reading the student will be in charge of.

  3. Students read their assigned portion of a text, becoming an "expert" about that portion.

  4. Students then organize into groups. Each group should contain at least one student expert from each section of text.

  5. In groups, students share their notes on the portions of text they were assigned, ensuring that their group-mates have a thorough understanding of all of the material in the text (not just their own section).

  6. EXTRA SCAFFOLDING: Groups may also start by having the same section and sharing first with each other, building the confidence in the material of each member before they share in their mixed groups.