Modelling through think alouds

The think aloud strategy involves the articulation of thinking, and has been identified as an effective instructional tool.

Think aloud protocols involve the teacher vocalising the internal thinking that they employ when engaged in literacy practices or other areas of learning. The intention is that think alouds make transparent or overt the cognitive processes that literate people deploy. The effective use of think alouds can positively influence student achievement (Fisher, Frey and Lapp, 2011; Ness, 2016).

It is common for teachers to use think alouds when modelling writing, reading, working out mathematical calculations and for speaking and listening strategies. For maximum impact, it is recommended that think alouds are considered in the planning phase (Ness, 2016).

Students can also use think alouds to monitor their comprehension, which can act as a form of assessment. Student think alouds can benefit the speaker, as links between oral language, reading and writing are made, while acting as a model for other students.

Read more information on think alouds and see an in practice lesson containing think alouds.


Fisher, D., Frey, N., and Lapp, D. (2011). Coaching middle-level teachers to think aloud improves comprehension instruction and student reading achievement. Teacher Educator, 46(3), 231-243.

Ness, M. (2016). Learning from K – 5 teachers who think aloud. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. 30, (3), 282 – 292.