Teaching Strategy

Think Aloud

Responding to the Read-Aloud Text
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.1


During reading


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


  1. Select an unfamiliar Perspectives text or passage to read aloud. Display it in a visible location.
  2. Before reading, demonstrate the strategies you use to make sense of the text.
    • When preparing to read, say, “As I prepare to read, I ask myself, ‘What is this going to be about?’ ”
    • Talk through the process of looking at titles, headings, boldface type or other textual features to get an idea of what the reader is supposed to learn while reading.
    • Say, “Now I understand, it is going to be about ____________.” Continue to scan the text for more information. Think aloud and make connections to things you may already know about the topic.
  3. Prepare to read aloud. Select one or two of these comprehension skills to highlight using Think Aloud while you read the text.
    • Predicting (I predict…, In the next part I think…, I think this the character will…)
    • Picturing (I picture…, I can see…)
    • Making connections (This is like a…, This reminds me of…)
    • Identifying a problem (I got confused when…, I’m not sure of…, I didn’t expect…)
    • Using fix ups (I think I’ll have to… [reread, or take some other action to help comprehension], Maybe I’ll need to… [read on, or persevere in some other way])
  4. Read the text aloud. Stop at various points to model specific skills.
    • Consider having students complete a Think Aloud question and answer chart to help familiarize them with the types of questions they would explore during their own Think Aloud. Choose the comprehension skills (i.e. making connections, identifying a problem or making predictions) you will highlight in the question and answer chart based on the central text.
    • Once they are comfortable with the question and answer format, transition to completing Think Alouds as a class, prompting individual students to ask and answer questions at particular stopping points in the text during the read aloud.
    • Lastly, move to having students complete Think Alouds in small groups or pairs, depending on their readiness levels.
  5. Use Think Aloud to introduce or review different text types (e.g. poems, drama) and to teach the characteristics of the genre.

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, too, are ongoing learners as well.

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.

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