Think-Alouds Based on the text: Improving Comprehension with Think-Aloud Strategies Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. By: Brittany Storch, Lauren Brechtel, Ally Kotz, Hillary Long, and Kristi Tamasitis
What are Think-Alouds? “Think-alouds in reading is creating a record, either through writing or talking aloud, of the strategic decision-making and interpreting process of going through a text, reporting everything the reader is aware of noticing, doing, seeing, feeling, asking, and understanding as he or she reads.” “Think-alouds are approximate duplicates of what the student actually thought about during the reading.”
Think-AloudsHelp Teachers… • Deepen the awareness of the reading process • Help model these strategies • Helps assess students and plan instruction • Know what in text confuses students; assess strategies; diagnosis problems • Support readers’ monitoring their own comprehension
Think-Alouds Help Students… • Understand reading to makes sense • Move beyond the literal meaning of the text • Learn how to read using different strategies independently
Think-Alouds Being Modeled • Teacher performs think-aloud • Teacher conducts think-aloud with student engagement • Students do think-aloud; teacher monitors • (Gradual release of responsibility)
General Process Think-Alouds • General processes are the things that all readers need to master before moving on to more difficult text tasks.
Setting Purposes for Reading Why am I reading this? What am I hoping to find out? What am I hoping to prove?
Making Predictions What does the title/cover make me think of? What do you think will happen next? Why do you think X did what he/she did? What do you think X will do now? Was I right?
Making personal connections Is this similar to something that I have seen or experienced? How does this relate to my own life? Can this help me get through a problem or understand something?
Visualizing Close your eyes and think about what is being read. What do you see? What is happening?
Comprehension Monitoring Does what I am reading make sense? Does what I am reading fit in with what I already know or is it something new?
Using Fix-Up Strategies to Address Confusion and Repair Comprehension Re-Read Look at the Picture (If Any) Read Ahead Figure Out Unknown Words Look at Sentence Structure Make a Mental Image Define Purpose for Reading Ask Questions Make Predictions Stop to Think/Summarize Make Connections Ask for Help
Steps of General Process Think-Alouds • Step One: Choose a text that is both interesting to students and within their Zone of Proximal Development • Step Two: Explain what the point of what a think-aloud is in general (i.e. how it is conducted) as well as what this specific one is targeting. • Step Three: Give students a purpose for reading. • Step Four: Begin reading the text, pausing at key moments to verbalize thoughts regarding the strategy being highlighted. • Step Five: Have students determine and underline the words/phrases that were used with the strategy and discuss them. • Step Six: After several think-alouds using the above steps, create a list with the students about what cues were used for the strategy and post them. • Step Seven: Assist students in identifying others areas of life in which the strategy could be useful. • Step Eight: Use a variety of follow-up lessons to encourage the gradual release of responsibility.
Free Response and Cued Think-Alouds • QAR (Question-Answer Relationship) Questions • Literal “Right There” Questions • Inferring “Think and Search” Questions • Personal Experience Connection “Author-and-Me” Questions • Life and World General “On Your Own” Questions • Visual Think-Alouds • Encourage students to draw during the think-aloud • Individual responses (symbols, pictures, etc.)
Why Do We Use Free-Response and Cued Think-Alouds? “Students see how they read, share their characteristic ways of reading with classmates, recognize that others read differently from the way they do, and realize that expert readers call upon a wide variety of strategies at the same time – strategies that they may wish to appropriate and use for themselves” (Wilhelm, 2001, p. 68).
Rules of Notice for Character: • Titles • Names and Nicknames • Introductions • Problems • Actions • Physical Description • Clothing • Way They Talk/Language They Use • Typical Setting or Surroundings • Friends or People They Hang With • What Others Say About Them • Tastes/Likes/Dislikes • Character Thoughts • Character Changes • General Rules of Notice: • Titles • Beginnings • Climaxes/Key Details • Extended Descriptions • Changes e.g. in Direction, Setting, Point of View • Repetition • Surprises and Ruptures • Endings
Visual Think-Alouds • Engaged readers use visual components to bring their own life into the reading. • Picture mapping, mind movies, symbolic story representation etc. • Learning Disabled are very visual learners • Have students share their visual think-alouds- why did they draw the pictures the way they did? • Reveals the student’s thought process. • Visualization check sheet for readers (pg. 120) • Individual use
Modeling Think-Alouds • Teacher does/Students watch • Teacher does/Students help • Students do/ Teacher helps • Teacher does/Students must help
New Genres • Do your own • Study students
Task Specific vs. Text Type • Task specific • Irony • symbolism • Text-Type • Compare-contrast • Cause- effect
Talk Backs • Enact procedural knowledge of a subject • Reflect knowledge of topic • Connect with prior knowledge • Recognize structures and conventions • Reference to the process of reading • Retelling
Important Genres • New stories • Authentic • Connections • Reading strategies • Identify details, summarizing meaning • Arguments • Most important • Advertisements
Talk Back With News Article • What is the topic of the article? • What important ideas are expressed about the topic (5W &H) • Does it clearly make known how this event/issue related to other events (past/future)? How does it help think about what is important? • Is the story coherent? • What strategies am I using to create meaning? What tools am I using to critique the structure, writing, content?
Performance-Based Instruction “Think-alouds can motivate effective assessment tools.” “…in-process look at readers engaged in comprehensive activity.”
To… • Quickly assess students • Assess students over time • Inform our instruction • Homogeneously group students • Self-assess • Collect data • Communicate with parents For… • Student peer-assessment • Student-teacher portfolios
“The premise behind it [think-alouds] is simple: the most important thing we can teach our students is how to learn” (Wilhelm, 2001, p. 7).