Accommodations Toolkit

Student Reads Aloud to Self: Research

National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

This fact sheet on student reads aloud to self is part of the Accommodations Toolkit published by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). It summarizes information and research findings on student reads aloud to self as an accommodation.[1] This toolkit also contains a summary of states’ accessibility policies for student reads aloud to self.

What is student reads aloud to self? Student reads aloud to self is when a student independently reads assessment content audibly to themselves at their own pace before selecting their answers (Elbaum et al., 2004; Fuchs et al., 2000; Overton, 2013). Another approach is when a student reads aloud into a recording device and then writes their answers while playing the recording back to themselves (Finizio, 2008). However, this is not a typical method of student reads aloud to self, and no information was found on the efficacy of this version of the accommodation.

A female student who is black and appears to be elementary age reads aloud.

What are the research findings on who should use this accommodation? Student reads aloud to self has been studied in students with learning disabilities with mixed results. Reading text aloud may help elementary students with learning disabilities (Fuchs, 2000; Fuchs et al., 2000). On the other hand, other studies found that reading text aloud was not found to be helpful for elementary students with reading-related learning disabilities (Overton, 2013) or secondary students with learning disabilities (Elbaum et al., 2004).

What are the research findings on the implementation of student reads aloud to self? Four studies were located that addressed student reads aloud to self.

  • Elbaum et al. (2004) asked students to read passages aloud to themselves in a separate setting (i.e., library). Student performance was not significantly different with or without the accommodation when compared to students without learning disabilities. 
  • Fuchs (2000) and Fuchs et al. (2000) administered the accommodation individually to students outside their classrooms and found that students with learning disabilities scored higher than those without learning disabilities when given the accommodation.
  • Overton (2013) found that reads aloud to self increased students' comprehension with story-type text but not with informational-type text. 

What perceptions do students and teachers have about student reads aloud to self? One study found that less than half of students believed they performed better when using reads aloud to self (Elbaum et al., 2004). In another study, teachers did not accurately predict which students would benefit from using  student reads aloud  to self (Fuchs et al., 2000).

What have we learned overall? There is mixed evidence regarding the usefulness of the student reads aloud to self accommodation. Research suggests it may be helpful for some primary grade students. However, other factors such as type of text and setting may be responsible for a beneficial effect on student scores.  Some students do not perceive this accommodation to be helpful, though their teachers may consider it helpful.  Given the limited research on student reads aloud to self, there is a clear need for additional research on this accommodation.



  • Elbaum, B., Arguelles, M. E., Campbell, Y., & Saleh, M. B. (2004). Effects of a student-reads-aloud accommodation on the performance of students with and without learning disabilities on a test of reading comprehension. Exceptionality, 12(2), 71–87.

  • Finizio, N. J. (2008). The relationship between instructional and assessment accommodations on student IEPs in a single urban school district. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section A. Humanities and Social Sciences, 69(05). Retrieved from

  • Fuchs, L. S. (1998). Research report on reading. The validity of test accommodations for students with learning disabilities: Differential item performance on reading tests as a function of test accommodations and disability status. Retrieved from University of Delaware Education Research and Development Center website:

  • Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Eaton, S. B., Hamlett, C. L., Binkley, E., & Crouch, R. (2000). Using objective data sources to enhance teacher judgments about test accommodations. Exceptional Children, 67(1), 67–81.

  • Overton, A. M. (2013). Examining comprehension when using a student-reads-aloud accommodation on two text types. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section A. Humanities and Social Sciences, 74(08). Retrieved from

All rights reserved. Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced and distributed without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:

  • Goldstone, L., Lazarus, S. S., Olson, R., Hinkle, A. R., Ressa, V., & Rogers, C. M. (2021). Student reads aloud to self: Research (NCEO Accommodations Toolkit #9a). National Center on Educational Outcomes.

NCEO is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. NCEO does not endorse any of the commercial products used in the studies. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but does not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Project Officer: David Egnor