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The Think Aloud Strategy for Teaching Reading
What is Modeled Think Aloud
It is nice to have a trick or two up your sleeve to assist with teaching children to read and it is also beneficial to have a pocketful of strategies to draw on. One particular strategy, that is very effective for teaching children about reading, is called a Modeled Think Aloud. This strategy does just what it says. It provides an example to the child of the thinking a good reader does when they are engaged in a text. The parent or teacher models their own thinking, as they read the text out loud to the child. By sharing their questions and connections the child is shown examples of how to reflect on their own thinking during reading. This metacognitive process is vital because it allows the child to learn how to monitor their own level of comprehension for the text.
How to Model Think Aloud
If you want to model a think aloud lesson for your child, than choose a text that is one you both will find interesting and enjoyable. Tell your child that you are going to read the text to them and they are going to listen. Explain to them that you are also going to share your thinking as you go along.
During the reading of the text the goal is to make several strategic pauses, where you will talk about your responses. For instance, after reading the title you might pause to talk about your predictions for the story and the questions the title raises. After reading the first paragraph you might stop to change your predictions. The important thing is that the child is able to see the thinking that good readers do.
What to Talk About
What do you say when you are modelling the Think Aloud strategy? Here are some examples of sentence stems that can help to get the talk going. For the word solving examples it is beneficial to playfully fake an unknown word.
Comprehension Think Aloud
This part of the article reminds me of.....
I wonder why...
So far in the story I think...
Word Solving Think Aloud
I am going to go back and read the sentence again to help me with the word.
I need to think of a word that looks right but also makes sense in the sentence.
I think I will read on and go back to the tricky word later.
Kids Think Aloud
The main reason for modelling the Think Aloud strategy is to encourage the child to start thinking more deeply about their own reading. Once the wheels start turning there will be lots of interesting discussion that will take place in response to texts. It is also an idea to have the child demonstrate their own Think Aloud for an article they choose. The reason for increasing metacognitive awareness in reading is to empower the child with tools, to monitor their own reading comprehension, and engage more fully with text. Try it with your child to provide powerful lessons that will have a real impact on reading success.
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