SOS: Think-Aloud

Creative, research-based instructional strategies – presented by teachers, for teachers.


The Spotlight on Strategies series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating Discovery Education digital media into your curriculum in meaningful, effective, and practical ways.

The SOS series includes more than 150 different strategies you can use to engage students in active learning with digital media.

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Special Thanks: This strategy was contributed by Discovery Education Professional Development.


Think-Aloud

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A think-aloud is a brief and targeted segment of instruction that models metacognitive thinking. It allows your students to see into your brain to analyze the reasons behind the learning actions and decisions you make. Although generally considered a reading strategy, a think-aloud is a useful strategy for any content area where teaching of explicit skills is needed, including hands-on investigation.

The most effective think-alouds are not spontaneous; they are planned in advance. When you plan a think-aloud, you should consider both academic goals you have for your students and the type of media that you want to use as your content. Short pieces of text, simple math problems, examples of scientific procedures, an image, or even a short video segment all work well.

 Materials: Discovery Education media (reading passage or transcript, video segment, image, math problem, or science interactive)

  1. Identify the learning goal(s) you have for your students.
  2. Select and review the media you will use.
  3. Plan your think-aloud. Remember to:
    • Find your authentic voice by using “I” statements
    • Use a friendly, conversational tone rather than an authoritative academic voice
    • Avoid telling or direct explanations
    • Call attention to initial confusions and solutions you had and how you worked through them
  4. Slow down, focus on your thinking process, and examine what you are doing to make sense of the content
  5. Model how to problem-solve and think like an expert by using terminology and ideas that are discipline-specific.
  6. Name your cognitive and metacognitive processes to help students build their own metacognitive awareness. For example, tell students you are using the associative property of multiplication or sourcing a primary source document.
This strategy gives students insight into how experts navigate complex texts and supports students in incorporating and integrating academic knowledge. Keep in mind that it is better to deliver a short but effective think-aloud than one that serves only to confuse the learner with too many details. Select the most important concepts as the focus for your think-alouds.
  • Improve your think-aloud skills by watching and listening to think-alouds that other educators have shared.
  • Record video or audio think-alouds and create QR codes for them. These can be strategically placed in centers or stations to assist students as they work independently.
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2 Comments

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  2. Honda Civic said:

    you want to use as your content. Short pieces of text, simple math problems, examples of scientific procedures, an image, or even a short video segment all work well. Thanks your post

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