Performance reading


I was first introduced to performance reading through Burton (2007), where it was suggested that learners could prepare for a performance of a play script. However, as I researched, I found a strategy with the same name, which enables the teacher, and learner, to make reading thinking visible for further work.

Readwritethink explain that ‘The NCTE/IRA Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing contend that “reading very short passages and answering a limited number of multiple-choice questions is not a good measure of what literate people normally do when they read. Authentic assessments of reading employ tasks that reflect real-world reading practices and challenges” (p. 46).’You can find the resources here.

Performance reading template – blank

Performance reading template with questions

I also had a look at think-aloud strategies used in classrooms which seems to be based on the same theory. I mainly found examples from the USA. I’m not sure if this is a strategy used or not in the UK, but I can definitely see the benefits of trying the method with a text in class, and recall similar techniques used in school. I found the following videos interesting in various ways, as well as some info on the readingrocket website using think alouds and using them to aid comprehension.

The benefits:

  • You can ‘see’ what the learner is thinking which can provide useful diagnostic, formative and summative assessment
  • It helps my understanding of how we think through reading a text and gain meaning from it
  • You can guide learners into a way to think, through modelling and demonstration – this could suit a variety of learning styles
  • It helps learners think more autonomously


  • Getting learners on board with a deep thinking/reading exercise – it could take a lot of time!

I’ll definitely be giving it a try in class with these documents as guidance, as I’m aware I need to further my knowledge of learner’s thinking skills, and how to develop them. I’ll try it out. At the end of the day, if my learners don’t like it, I’m sure they’ll let me know!

Have you ever used these techniques with adults of various skill levels? I’d be interested in finding out your thoughts!


Burton, M. (2007) Reading. NIACE: London

Read Write Think, (2013), Making the Reading Process Visible through Performance Assessment, [online] Available at: [Accessed 18/02/13]

Readingrockets, (2013) Think Alouds, [online] Available at:

Readingrockets (2013) Using Think Alouds to Improve Reading Comprehension [online] Available at:

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