Read Aloud

The Strategy

Read aloud is a strategy wherein tests or quizzes are orally administered to students. When using the read aloud strategy, the teacher (or other adult such as an instructional assistant) reads the test or quiz aloud to an individual or small group of students as they are taking the exam. This strategy is intended to reduce the impact of the student’s disability (e.g., making careless errors, being off-task for students with ADHD; limited reading skills for students with low reading skills) on their performance, and give them equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. By reducing the impact of the disability, teachers can obtain an accurate measure of student performance on the relevant subject material and content.

  1. Read aloud can be provided for quizzes, classroom tests, or standardized tests.
  2. Read aloud can be provided either one-on-one or in a small group in a quiet room with limited distractions. Identify how many students in your class may benefit from the strategy.
  3. Oral administration can be facilitated via the teacher, instructional assistant, or audio recording. Decide which avenue fits best within your needs.
  4. When administering the test/quiz, each question and all answer choices should be read aloud at a consistent pace. Questions should be read 30 seconds to 1 minute apart for each multiple-choice question, 5 minutes apart for short answer questions, and 10 minutes apart for extended response questions. We suggest reading each question twice before moving to the next question. If using a recording, the student should have the option to pause the player if additional time is needed.
  5. Use Beacon progress monitoring tools to evaluate the extent to which this strategy is improving the target behaviors as intended.

  • If a student is utilizing read aloud to complete an assessment, try to schedule this at a time that will not interfere with other academic content.
  • If read aloud is used, it should be used in conjunction with an evidence-based intervention for the identified target problem (e.g., anxiety, reading disability, ADHD) as read aloud does not improve skills (e.g., attending to details, careful reading, reading comprehension skills). Interventions for the child’s specific problems can help the student develop skills needed to take tests without this accommodation. With scaffolding, effective intervention may eventually eliminate the need for read aloud so that children are able to meet age-appropriate expectations.

Read aloud is rated as “not evaluated” in Beacon as it is a strategy that does not effectively build the skills students need to independently meet age-appropriate expectations, therefore it cannot be evaluated for effectiveness. However, read aloud has research support in both elementary and secondary settings for being an effective testing accommodation as it reduces the impact of learning disabilities or ADHD on student test performance and gives them equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge.

Recommendations: We recommend using read aloud as an accommodation if your elementary or secondary student is struggling with tests or quizzes. However, we recommend that you pair read aloud with other interventions that will help the student develop the skills that they need to independently meet age-appropriate expectations for taking tests and quizzes.

Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

Select an age group:


Other suitable presenting problems