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Think Aloud Strategy

Effective teachers think out loud on a regular basis

The think-aloud strategy asks students to say out loud what they are thinking about when reading, solving math problems, or simply responding to questions posed by teachers or other students. This resources explains the strategy and provides tips on how to model it for students so that make it a habit in math, reading, and science classes. This strategy makes an excellent addition to the learning methods taught in your curriculum.
Teaching Strategies:
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How Can You Stretch Students' Thinking?

Reflective journals and learning logs are a natural extension of thinking out loud. By jotting down what you say, you can model the journaling process as you model thinking out loud. As students start to keep journals or learning logs, review them on an ongoing basis to monitor the students' metacognition and use of essential strategies.

When Can You Use It?

Reading/English

The process of thinking out loud can be used in K-12 classes during all phases of the reading process. Before reading you may think out loud to demonstrate accessing prior knowledge or to make predictions about the text. During reading, model reading comprehension using fix-up strategies or examining text structure to maintain meaning. After reading, model using the text to support an opinion, or analyze the text from the author's point of view.

Writing

Thinking out loud can be used to model all phases of the writing process. In pre-writing, model the strategies writers use to get the process started; during the drafting process, model creating "sloppy copies"; during revision, model how to ask questions and think about readers' needs; and during the editing process, model how to use conventions to help readers understand the message. As students engage in reciprocal think-alouds, they dialogue about their texts. This dialoguing helps students to internalize their sense of audience and fine-tune their craftsmanship as writers.

Math

When teaching a new math process or strategy, think aloud to model its use. Ask students to work with a partner to practice thinking aloud to describe how they use the new process or strategy. Listen to students as they think aloud to assess their understanding.

Social Studies

In classroom discussions of difficult social studies topics, such as capital punishment or affirmative action, ask that students not only give their opinions but explain their reasoning by thinking out loud. Model thinking out loud yourself as you read a difficult text or express your own opinion on a complex issue.

Science

Think-alouds can be used to model the inquiry process in science. During instruction, have students continue the inquiry process using reciprocal think-alouds and then reflect upon the process in their journals or learning logs.

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