The use of think-alouds in order to increase comprehension in struggling readers at the middle school level

Diana T. Hornak

Abstract

This study assessed the effect that the use of the think-aloud strategy had on improving reading comprehension of struggling middle school readers. The study consisted of a six-week intervention in which the student were provided instruction in the use of the think-aloud strategy three days each week during their small-group reading class. Seven students, four boys and three girls, from an urban, public school near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, participated in this study. The researcher used marked think-aloud passages from the Qualitative Reading Inventory-V (Leslie & Caldwell, 2010), the Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment, and MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress) in order to obtain data before the onset of the study and at the end of the study in order to gauge its effectiveness. Additionally, the researcher monitored progress through the use of guided and independent practice on the use of think-alouds on high-interest reading passages. Data findings indicated that the treatment had a positive impact on the students' ability to answer explicit comprehension questions. The study did not positively impact the students' ability to answer implicit questions. Teachers who are considering using the think-aloud strategy should consider examining this study.