Using Think Alouds To Assess Reading

Every year our staff reads three professional texts together.  Usually one in the summer which we discuss at our first PD days and then two during the year.  Our current book is Classroom Reading Assessments by Frank Serafini.  This round we chose to alternate meeting with whole group and clusters.  We discuss the chapter in the whole group and then bring something we’ve tried out with the students.  We are on the second chapter which is assessments during reading.  Today several of my colleges brought examples of think alouds that they had students complete using photobooth on their laptop.  WOW!

Essentially Serafini talks about recording students while they read and think aloud about what they are reading.  He provides them with a loose structure to guide them.  The teacher can monitor fluency, if they read aloud, comprehension, and other reading behaviors.  We noticed that the video aspect was important because we could watch the students’ body language.  I love this idea because it offers a way to assess students who may not express themselves clearly in writing.  So many possibilities.  Here are some of my thoughts from our meeting.

1) I am so proud to work with such intelligent insightful teachers.  I loved the different ways that everyone took the information in the book and interpreted it to fit their own classroom.

2) I felt really proud that everyone was using technology and we had a very valuable discussion about how this simple technology provides such a rich and meaningful assessment experience.

3) I learned a lot which makes me happy!

4) I shared my Google assessment form and we talked about how we might incorporate something similar as a self reflection tool for the student to fill out after they complete their think aloud.  They could even watch it and then reflect.  (I just don’t know-I have a million ideas!)

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever tried something like this before? If you go to this link and click on samples you can download and read chapter 2, which is the chapter we discussed.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.  You can also download the instructions and questions under companion resources.

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3 Responses to Using Think Alouds To Assess Reading

  1. Tara says:

    What a great idea to read and share thoughts about professional texts! I’ve tried starting this in my school among my 6th. grade colleagues to no avail – but I believe strongly in such collaboration. It enriches our teaching and our own personal growth as teachers. The video aspect of conferencing really appeals to me…something else to think about! Thanks, Katie!

  2. Katie… I enjoyed reading your blog about the use of think alouds. Using photobooth is an excellent idea. I have been working on variants of multimodal analysis of read alouds with teachers to understand how gesture and voice adds to the qualities of a read aloud. I guess we could also look at think alouds by students. Keep up the great work

    • Katie says:

      Wow! Thanks Frank, I feel kind of special now. We are really enjoying your book and thinking about the ways that we can apply your work in our classrooms to drive our assessment and instruction. I probably did not do your process justice, but I figure if people are interested enough then they can buy the book!

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