Teaching Strategy

Think Aloud

Close and Critical Reading
Grade Level


Think Aloud requires readers to stop during their reading to think, reflect and discuss their process. Readers talk about skipping text, rereading, searching back in the text for information, questioning, clarifying, summarizing, making connections, reflecting, predicting and visualizing.


During reading


The Think Aloud strategy facilitates conversations about reading for understanding, giving you insight into how your students are processing texts as readers. By modeling, turning over the responsibility to the student and observing her think aloud as she reads, you can identify what reading comprehension skills the student has mastered and what skills she may need to develop. Think Aloud also fosters meta-cognition skills necessary for students to become successful independent readers.


  1. Select a central text.
  2. Project the text in a visible location.
  3. Identify reading skills most of your students need to work on. These will be the topics for your mini-lessons. Consider these possibilities:
    • Asking questions
    • Clarifying
    • Connecting to other texts
    • Making predictions
    • Narrating thoughts while reading
    • Reflecting
    • Rereading
    • Reviewing for information
    • Skipping
    • Summarizing
    • Surveying for text features
    • Using evidence from the text to respond
    • Visualizing
  4. Highlight part of the text conducive to demonstrating the skills you selected for the mini-lessons. Model the skills aloud.
  5. Have students record the skills you demonstrate on the Think Aloud checklist.
  6. After modeling Think Aloud, have students practice with a partner or in a small group, using the Think Aloud checklist as a talking guide.
  7. Observe and scaffold students during partner or small group Think Aloud. These observations can function as formative assessments.

English language learners

Think Aloud is among the most effective strategies to use with English language learners. It is especially helpful for predicting and summarizing. Model this strategy explicitly and frequently during mini-lessons. Thinking aloud is a meta-cognitive process; by demonstrating these techniques, teachers encourage self-awareness and show English language learners that they, are ongoing learners.

Connection to anti-bias education

Think Aloud encourages students to describe their individual process for reading and connecting to the text. Community sharing broadens student understanding that each member of the classroom community contributes a unique perspective and experience.