Jigsaw Technique


Purpose: To practice reading comprehension; to practice speaking skills.

Preparation before class:

  1. Choose appropriate reading material to use with your students. Examples of good types of material for this activity include anecdotes or stories, stories told from two or three different viewpoints, fairy tales and information about different community services or different cities.
  2. Divide the material into sections. The number of sections you create depends on the type of material and on how many groups of students you would like.
  3. On a separate sheet of paper, write comprehension questions for the material so that 2-3 questions pertain to each section.
  4. Photocopy the material and then cut out each section separately. Make enough copies of each section so that each student can have one section (not one of each). Make one copy of the question sheet for each student.


  1. Distribute a section of the text and the questions to each learner. Learners read the text silently and then work with other students who have the same section to complete the questions. If your text is divided into sections A, B, and C, all the students with part A work together (AAAA groups). Explain to learners that they will not be able to answer all of the questions, only the ones that pertain to their part of the text.
  2. When students are ready, regroup the students so that each group forms a complete version of the text (ABC groups).
  3. In the new groups, each student summarizes or retells his/her part of the story, so that other students can answer the questions for that part. Students should not read the text to their group, nor show the group their question papers.
  4. When groups have finished, go over the comprehension questions as a whole class.


This activity can also be done with listening material if you have multiple cassette/CD players, can make copies of the sections of tape and have places where groups of students can go to listen to their section without letting other groups hear.

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