Accountability Demo


      • Student Think Aloud

Accountability Demo

Student Think Aloud

Student Think Aloud

Objective: The goal of this assignment is for you to analyze what strategies a student uses while reading two different types of content area readings. You will determine what strategies your student uses with both texts, how successful those strategies are, what strategies your student uses with only one text, and the effectiveness of that application. The ultimate goal is for you to make recommendations for future instruction to further support that particular student in the reading process.  


This key assessment fuses together your understanding of text complexity, vocabulary, and reading comprehension strategies.


Directions: Before completing the steps below, read through all of the steps required, so you understand the expectations before you begin. You can then use these steps as a checklist for completing the assignment.


Collecting Data


____ Step 1

Take your student to the school library, or make your classroom library available to him/her. Have the student, not you, select two texts. One text should be easy or comfortable and one should be hard, but not frustrating, but one that s/he is interested in and is likely to understand. You may use those words --- hard, but not frustrating --- with the student. The student should not have read either text before. Reassure the student that this is not a test; there is no right or wrong; the student is helping you to learn!


____ Step 2

Using a phone, flip camera, or old-fashioned recording device, document your student's thinking as s/he reads aloud the easy text. You want to probe your student. Ask the student what s/he thinks about before reading and what clues gave her/him that idea (and it's okay if s/he doesn't know). Have the student read the easy text for about 15 minutes (or shorter if the text is shorter). Ask the student to stop every so often – after a paragraph or after a few sentences – and tell you what they are thinking about. If the student doesn't stop, then stop the student and ask what s/he is thinking about. After reading, ask the student what s/he thinks about the text.


­­­____ Step 3

Next, repeat the process with the difficult text for about 15 minutes. If the student is extremely frustrated, you may want to stop earlier but resist stopping before 15 minutes because you want data. Repeat the process that you did with the easy text. Reassure the student that it's okay if s/he didn't understand the whole text – you can learn how to teach him/her better from what s/he missed.


If you work in Early Childhood Education and the child is not yet reading, have him or her work through the self-selected texts by reading the images and discussing what s/he learns from them. Or, alternatively, you can read aloud the texts the student selects, recording the process and moments when you stop and ask the child to tell you what s/he is thinking. Your instincts and knowledge of the child will help you determine which method will reveal more about the child's emergent literacy.


Reviewing Data


____ Step 4

Review your recording and any notes that you also took.

  • What strategies did the student use with the difficult text? Were they successful in helping him/her access the content? How so?
  • What strategies did s/he use with the easy text? Were they successful in helping him/her access the content? How so?
  • Did they differ? If so, how?
  • Were the differences due to text type and format as well as degree of difficulty?
  • To what extent did prior knowledge play a role in the strategies that s/he selected?
  • What new strategies would you teach the student?
  • If the student reads well, what strategies would you reinforce with the student?


Writing Your Analysis


___ Step 5

Write a summary and analysis comparing your student's comprehension process for the two texts that includes the following. You will want to make sure that you include these section titles within your paper, to guide your reader. Also, scan a sample page from each text and insert each at the end of your document.



  • Do not include your student's name! Identify the grade or age of the student.
  • Why did you select him/her?  What were you hoping to find out?
  • How long have you worked with him/her, and in what context?


Text Analysis:

  • Identify the titles and authors of each text, the genre, the text structure, and a brief summary of the content.
  • Identify specific challenges within each text in terms of the text structure, content, writing style/voice, illustrations, and vocabulary. Use class readings and those from prior courses to help you determine this.
  • Share what the student articulated, before the interview, about what makes each text easy or difficult.


Strategy Analysis:

  • In this section, be mindful that the organizational structure of the paper should be determined by the strategies used by the student. Don't write about what s/he did first with the easy text and then the difficult.
  • Instead, identify the strategies that your student used when reading both texts, and the similarities and differences of how those shared strategies were used.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of those shared strategies in helping your student access the content of the two texts.
  • Next, identify the strategy just used with the simple text and/or just used with the difficult text, and how the application of that strategy was appropriate and successful (or the reverse).
  • Remember to use direct quotes from the texts and from the student to connect his/her use of reading strategies to specific moments in the texts.


Implications for Instruction:

·         How can the information gleaned from this formative assessment shape your future work with this particular student? What reading strategies would you teach him/her?

·         How does this information impact the kinds of texts that you might include in your content area to support this individual student as well as others?

·         What could you model for him/her to further develop his/her reading? If the student is a competent reader, how do you push him/her further with strategy instruction?

Concluding Reflection:

·         Reflect on what you learned from this process as a whole and how it impacts your understanding of how to teach and model reading comprehension strategies as a necessary part of your content instruction.

·         How is your overall teaching of your content area impacted by what you've uncovered?

For more information contact Student Ambassador
© 2014 Student Ambassador Published: 6/24/2013 Date Modified: 6/24/2013