Thinking Aloud:  How to teach students – Model….Model….Model
  1. Proper Planning will help to avoid a poor performance.  Have a book prepared and rehearsed.  Mark the particular pages that will best illustrate a strategy that you want the students to understand.  Know your purpose and stick to it, don’t try to cover more material than necessary.
  2. Authenticity is Critical, don’t try to fake it.  The connections, questions, inferences etc. whatever the particular strategy may be has to be heartfelt.  As a result, you must pick quality literature that you love and can make personal connections.
  3. Use Precise Language throughout the think aloud.  Whatever language your class decides upon for a particular strategy, stick to it.
To help students build a common language when sharing connections that they had with their books during a think aloud use these lead questions…

“When I read (or heard) these words... it reminded me of…”
“When I saw the picture of …. it made me think about…”

By asking kids to recall information about the words or pictures it keeps them connected to the text.  When the children or the teacher share the connections to aide in understanding and constructing meaning Miller calls this….

Thinking through the text together

To record their thinking and make it more visual, Miller suggests creating Anchor Charts. (Large 24 by 36 inch charts)  These charts help to show:

  1. connections from one strategy to another
  2. clarify points made
  3. build on earlier learning
  4. simply remember a specific strategy lesson
The First Schema Lesson
Kids need to know that one of the most important things readers do is make connections from what they already know to information in a particular text.  When they think about what they already know this is called using their schema or background knowledge.

  3 Types of Connections are
  1. Text to Self Connections- “it’s kind of like having a conversation going on in your head.”
  2. Text to Text Connections- “can help you understand the new story and make predictions about what may happen based on what you know from the other story.”  Venn diagrams are a great way to illustrate this strategy.
  3. Text to World Connections-students can do this by listening and paying attention to what is happening around them in the world.
Building schema for authors, types of text, and text elements.
Younger students make lack schema for particular authors, types of text, and text elements, so teach kids to activate what they know when….
  1. read a book by a familiar author
  2. select a picture book, songbook, or early reader
  3. read poetry, narratives, or expository texts
  ….. This helps them know what to expect and how to make sense of the text.  (Display these charts around the room)

 An example of a schema chart outline:

                         “Activating, Building, and Revising Schema”
Here’s our question?  (Ask question related to the topic of study) 
What’s our schema for this?  What information is already in our mental files about the question asked?
What’s our new learning? What will we add to our mental files? 
What were are misconceptions?  What information will we delete from our mental files?

Tried and True Texts for Schema

1.      Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe
2.      Hazel’s Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells
3.      I Know a Lady by Charlotte Zolotow
4.      Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
5.      Koala Lou by Mem Fox
6.      My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
7.      Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola
8.      Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
9.      The Relative Came by Cynthia Rylant
10.  Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
11.  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
12.  The Two of Them by Aliki

Attached is a Power Point presentation I found on the Internet that is a great summary of the entire book and has some great materials that can be used with students.  It was created by Sara Humphreys & Gail Neff  Vanas, Caracas 2010.