Gradual Release of Teacher Responsibility

What We Know Now


The grad­ual release of respon­si­bil­ity model moves teach­ing from teacher directed to inde­pen­dent stu­dent learn­ing. The four stages of grad­ual release include:

  1. Think aloud — where a teacher mod­els his/​her own thinking.
  2. Think together — where stu­dents and teach­ers are shar­ing their thinking.
  3. Guided prac­tice — where stu­dents are prac­tic­ing a skill or con­cept and teach­ers are pro­vid­ing feed­back and support.
  4. Inde­pen­dent prac­tice — where stu­dents are indi­vid­u­ally demon­strat­ing their knowl­edge and skills.

You will notice that teacher sup­port is grad­u­ally released, hence the name.


Grad­ual Release of Respon­si­bil­ity is an instruc­tional frame­work that can be used with any skill or concept.

Considerations or Implications:

This process is used for new skill devel­op­ment. While it appears to be lin­ear, it is often recur­sive, depend­ing on the needs of the stu­dents as revealed by for­ma­tive assessments.


Fisher and Frey

Google Images: type in “Grad­ual Release of Respon­si­bil­ity” to find numer­ous graphic organizers

EduGain — sim­ple image of the process

Doug Fis­cher arti­cle pro­vides a con­cise overview of each of the stages

Susie Prather & Chris Van Hoof
WASCD Board Members

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