Comprehension: the Garfield Think Aloud Series

The Garfield Think-Aloud Series: Reading Strategies for the Emergent Reader is a research-based program created to enable teachers to demonstrate the thinking processes that a competent reader uses when encountering an unknown word or when the meaning of the text is not clear or has been disrupted. A goal of this series of books is to make reading strategies transparent for students. By observing the teachers monitoring, questioning, problem-solving, and self-corrections, beginning readers are provided with the "handrails" they need to apply these strategies to their own reading. The ultimate goal of the program is to help learners use effective reading strategies purposefully and independently.

The series focuses on teaching the following five reading strategies.

  • Monitoring (self checking for accuracy and/or problems) • What did I notice?
  • Searching for Meaning (using semantic information) • Does it make sense?
  • Visual Searching (using graphophonic information) • Does it look right?
  • Searching Structure (using syntactic information) • Does it sound right?
  • Cross-checking (checking information from one information source against another) • Did I check more than one way?

Here are all the materials you need to use the Garfield Think-Aloud Series. Just click on the Teacher’s Guide and Student Text you want to use, download them, print them out, and you are ready to go. When you and your students have completed the story, there are several assessment options available. You can use the review questions as an oral assessment of students’ comprehension. Use the questions as a discussion guide of sorts. Another option is to use the Story Retelling Checklist to assess individual students’ comprehension and recall of the story. Simply ask the student to tell you everything she or he remembers about the story. You can ask the student, “What else do you remember?” and “Can you tell me more?”, but don’t ask for the specific story elements listed in the checklist. A story retelling evaluation is an assessment of how much the reader can recall in a somewhat unprompted situation.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

There are five strategy posters for the Garfield Think-Aloud Series, which serve to remind students to apply one of the five critical reading strategies used by good readers. Think of the posters as “training wheels” for students who need them to support their use of reading strategies until those strategies become automatic. These posters are available to purchase from Trend Enterprises.