A think aloud is a metacognitive instructional technique. In a think aloud the teacher chooses some activity that he/she feels the students would benefit from understanding and examining their own thinking process. Reading passages and working math problems are fairly standard choices for think alouds.

Like with any good instructional technique the teacher must first model the process before he/she asks the class to perform. For this example lets look at reading a passage:

  1. The teacher introduces the technique of the think aloud the the class, explaining the purpose of it--to begin to examine and reflect on how we work with a text when we are reading it.
  2. The teacher models the technique. The teacher begins to read a passage--a passage either from a book the students already have, or from a handout the students have, or from an overhead--and as he/she reads, asks questions and makes comments as they come up in thinking about the text. Examples would include:

  3. Students would then discuss what they heard and how the technique might benefit them
  4. Perform another think aloud with another piece of text, but this time have the students keep track of the number of times the teacher uses a different type of think aloud strategy:

  5. The students should now pair up and read paragraphs of passages back and forth--using think aloud strategies, keeping the above types in mind--in order to begin to engrain the technique in the student's minds.
  6. Continue to model and use the technique with any dificult passages.