Students are frustrated when we hand them a textbook or a sophisticated novel and say, Here, read this, without giving them the tools, rehearsal, and practice to prepare them for successfully reading it. Dr. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Improving Comprehension with Think-Aloud Strategies, 2001, pp. 19 & 20 . A think-aloud reveals the inner conversation that good readers have with a text to explore its meaning Talking out loud to students about your thinking provides them with good models of comprehension strategies
In order for students to successfully use this strategy, the teacher must first model use of the strategy repeatedly and explicitly. Some teachers use a signal when modeling so that students can tell the difference between when the teacher talks to them or when the teacher is thinking out loud. Some teachers point to their heads as a cue. Some hold up a light bulb sign. Either way, it’s important that the students distinguish the difference between the two. Then the students need practice monitoring their own reading and thinking aloud with prompting and guidance from the teacher. For instance, the teacher may focus on only one particular skill at a time from the bulleted list in the beginning. Or, the teacher can read aloud to the students, and prompt them to share what they are thinking, so that she can give immediate feedback or chart the students’ responses for future reference. Lastly, students will use the strategy independently, verbally and written. Think-alouds can be sticky notes in text to signify where a student may be making a prediction, clarifying meaning, or questioning the meaning of the text.
Guiding Questions for Discussion: Which strategies did the teacher use most often? Why do you think the teacher uses them the most ? Which strategy does she use the least ? Why do you think she uses it the least ? Which strategy could the teacher have used to aid in comprehension? Discuss in your group what role the think-aloud played in explicit instruction?
<ul><li>Now I lay me down to rest. </li></ul><ul><li>I pray I pass tomorrow’s test. </li></ul><ul><li>If I should die before I wake, </li></ul><ul><li>that’s one less test I’ll have to take. </li></ul>
A think-aloud of reading is creating a record, either through writing or talking aloud, of the Strategic decision-making and interpretive processes of going through a text, reporting everything the reader is aware of noticing, doing, seeing, feeling, asking, and understanding as she reads. A think-aloud involves talking about the reading strategies you are using and the content of the piece you are reading. Dr. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Improving Comprehension with Think-Aloud Strategies, 2001, p. 19
Purpose for a Think Aloud <ul><li>Make picture in your mind </li></ul><ul><li>Stop and reread to clarify </li></ul><ul><li>Make connection to story </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions </li></ul><ul><li>Look at story structure and genre </li></ul><ul><li>Study author’s style and word choice </li></ul><ul><li>Feel what is happening </li></ul><ul><li>Verbalize confusion when other strategies do </li></ul><ul><li>not work </li></ul>
Self-Assessment: Think-Aloud Strategies Never Sometimes Often Always Make a prediction Ask a question Clarify something Make a comment Make a connection Figure out if I need to reread Ask myself if I understand what I’ve read Make mental pictures (visualize) Compare what is being learned now to what has been learned previously
Good Readers vs. Poor Readers Good Readers Poor Readers Often Do Not Activate prior knowledge Set a purpose for reading Decode text Make a personal connection to text Make predictions Visualize Ask questions Monitor understanding Summarize Apply what they learned Draw on background knowledge as they read Make predictions as they read Visualize the events of a text as they read Recognize confusion as they read; Recognize a text's structure or organization as they read Identify or recognize a purpose for reading Monitor their strategy use according to the purpose for reading the text; In other words, students do not necessarily think while they are reading
Informational Text Features What to look for when reading informational text: Headings and subheadings Captions photographs, pictures, illustrations diagrams charts and graphs bold, highlighted and italicized text parentheses, dashes