An analysis of the reading strategies employed by fourth-grade students while thinking aloud in a group context

Leann Scotto-Boyan, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to discover, through verbal protocol analysis, the reading strategies used by 4 fluent, verbal, average-and-above-average readers in Grade 4, while reading text and thinking aloud in a group. The Gates MacGinite Reading Tests were used to determine average-and-above-average readers. Out of this sample teacher recommendations were acquired as to the 2 most verbal females and males. Verbal ability was determined by students' propensity for discussing literature in class. Participants responded to both the researcher's verbal probe and the verbal protocols made by the other group members. The results of this study suggested that these types of readers employ a wide range of reading strategies in their construction of textual meaning. Individual techniques in the reading process were witnessed, as the participants tended to use certain strategies more frequently than other strategies in their verbal protocols. Data analysis found many reading strategies implied in verbal protocols produced as a response to the researcher's verbal probe yet even more reading strategies were witnessed in verbal protocols made in response to other members' verbal input. The act of responding to others' verbal input created more verbal protocols, rich dialogue about text comprehension, and the inclusion of more reading strategies. The process of thinking aloud created a window for educators to witness the covert reading strategies used by readers in constructing meaning from text. The strategies highlighted in the verbal protocols should be included in comprehension instruction to all readers especially those less skilled. The rich dialogue and increased use of reading strategies evident in participants' responses to other members' verbal protocols suggest educators should expose students to reading and discussing text in a group context. It is recommended that future research replicate and confirm the findings mentioned and extend them to larger more diverse samples, longer periods of time, and the use of various genres of literature. It is hoped that the findings of this study will lead to the development of instructional methodology and curricula that are designed to increase the reading strategies of all readers especially those less skilled.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Scotto-Boyan, Leann, "An analysis of the reading strategies employed by fourth-grade students while thinking aloud in a group context" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3056158.