Social Studies Think-Aloud Assessment

Social Studies Think-Aloud Assessment 
A selection for 4th or 5th-grade students
Be detailed with your response. 

Choose a passage that is nonfiction and that has to do with a theme in social studies.  It should be approximately 500 words long.

With one student, prepare for the reading by asking the student what they already know about the topic after reading the title.  Record what they tell you and determine the level of background knowledge as weak, fair, or strong.

Have the student read the passage aloud.  After every few sentences, stop the student and ask them to tell you what they are thinking.  This might be a summary of what they just read, questions they have, a personal connection they can make to the text, or anything else that comes to their mind.  Record their think-aloud responses.

After the reading, have the student retell the passage to you by relating all that they remember from the passage.  Record their retelling.

Write a reflection about the level of background knowledge that the student had about the topic and how that knowledge may have helped or hindered them from reading the text.  Include the students responses to the think-aloud activity, citing what their responses revealed about their background knowledge of the topic.

Finally, research another way to assess background knowledge online and find an article to summarize and compare to your own experience with your student.  Which type of assessment do you think helps the most in determining what students already know?  Why is it important to understand students prior experiences before reading?