Areas of Expertise


Adolescent Literacy

Reading Strategies

Strategy: Think-Aloud

Davey, B. (1983). Think-aloud: Modeling the cognitive processes of reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 27(1), 44-47.

Olshavsky, J. E. (1977). Reading as problem-solving: An Investigation of Strategies. Reading Research Quarterly, 12(4), 654-674.

Web site:


A Think-Aloud is an effective method for monitoring comprehension of either narrative or expository material. A teacher models aloud what good readers do to improve comprehension. By using this strategy, students learn to generate questions as they read, ensuring a higher level of understanding.


  1. As students read the selected passage silently, the teacher reads the same material aloud. As points of difficulty (e.g., contradictions, unknown words) arise, the teacher stops and "thinks aloud" how to handle these. For instance, "I don't know this word. I better look for familiar word parts to help me."
  2. The teacher will make predictions as the material is read aloud so students can see how a hypothesis about the passage is developed.
  3. The strategy of imagery can be demonstrated if the teacher describes mental pictures that develop during reading.
  4. An analogy may be shared by showing students how to link prior knowledge with new information in the text.
  5. When a confusing point comes up, the teacher will talk through it, thus modeling how a reader monitors ongoing comprehension.
  6. It is important to demonstrate fix-up strategies, such as rereading a sentence, reading ahead to clarify, looking for context clues to help understand, and identifying unknown words.
  7. After the teacher has modeled this procedure several times, have students work with partners to practice this strategy.
  8. Encourage students to practice thinking through materials on their own.


Questions to be asked and answered in the Think-Aloud strategy:

Prior to Reading

  1. Why am I reading this?
  2. Will this information help me in any way?
  3. What do I know about this topic?
  4. What do I think I will learn about this topic?
  5. After reading the title, what do I think this reading will be about?

During Reading

  1. Do I understand what I just read?
  2. Does it make sense?
  3. Do I have a clear picture in my head about this information?
  4. Am I comfortable with my predictions, or do I need to adjust them?
  5. What more can I do to understand this?

After Reading

  1. What were the most important points in this reading?
  2. What new information did I learn?
  3. How does it fit in with what I already know?
  4. Do I agree or disagree with it?
  5. Should I go back and reread any part of this material so I can better understand it?
  6. What can I do to remember this information?

Note: The Web site noted above contains an example of Think-Aloud using an autobiography of Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl.


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