Using the Think Aloud Strategy with ELL Students

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, you will learn about using the think aloud strategy with your English language learner (ELL) students. The lesson will cover benefits of the strategy as well as different methods for incorporating it into your classroom.

Engaged Readers

Before you start this lesson, pick up a book and spend a few minutes reading it. Now, what went through your mind as you read?

If you're like most people, you probably had some thoughts. Perhaps you had a question that needed clarification. Or maybe you made a connection to something you saw in a movie. This intuitive process helps with comprehension and makes reading more enjoyable.

At some point, you've most likely learned, either from a teacher or from personal experience, that engaging with a text helps you to better understand it. However, not all students are privy to that information. Many readers experience a text passively, not pausing to reflect or check for understanding. When they come across difficult concepts or unfamiliar vocabulary, they forge ahead, hoping the more they read, the more sense the text will make.

Difficult concepts and unfamiliar words can be especially challenging for ELL students who are already at a disadvantage because of their language barrier. The good news is that you can teach students how to engage with their reading by modeling your own think-aloud process in front of them.

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