Reading Aloud

Advantages to Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is a wonderful tool to help you learn to read smoothly and build fluency skills, continuity and confidence. I encourage students of all ages to read aloud. Not only will this help you comprehend what you are reading, it will also allow you to listen back for your voice. Hearing your voice will assist you in identifying your unique writing voice. Learning to read aloud with confidence and clarity reaps many benefits.

Here are some advantages to reading aloud:

  • Reading aloud helps you cultivate your internal listening skills, which in turn assists you in discovering your unique writing voice.
  • Reading aloud sharpens your ear so that you are able to detect authentic dialogue and flowing narrative.
  • Reading aloud helps improve your diction and expression, which you will then transfer into your speaking voice and writing voice.
  • Reading aloud improves your visual memory and ability to see images in your mind.
  • Reading aloud improves your spelling. You are sounding out words, detecting syllables, and visually connecting to the words. All of these processes enhance spelling awareness.
  • Reading aloud is the best exercise you can do to improve your own writing and speaking. It is great practice for public speaking, speech and drama and acting in theater.

Advantages to Reading Your Own Writing Aloud

After you have finished writing something—be it a letter, essay, story, research paper or book report—the best, most efficient and effective editing process is to read your work aloud to yourself. Here's how it works:

  • Reading your own writing aloud is the best barometer to tell if your writing is active, flows, has good movement and is working. If you stumble over your own words, you can trust that something needs to be edited or changed.
  • When you read your writing aloud, you can hear and/or pick up mistakes in grammar, punctuation and meaning. You won't find a better tool to correct your work than reading aloud.
  • Reading aloud helps you discern proper punctuation. For instance, if you pause in your oral reading, you may need to insert a comma at that point, or you may need to end the sentence. Pauses keep separate thoughts from running into each other. Hearing your pauses, helps prevent run-on sentences.
  • When you read your work aloud, if you start to get bored, you probably need to cut what you have written. If a section of your writing is slowing down the momentum and reducing clarity, you need to rewrite. If you are yawning and losing contact with your writing, think what's happening to your reader.

Reading aloud is a wonderful skill to master and will serve you well on many different levels.

Here is what Pam Munoz Ryan, author of Esperanza Rising, and many other great books, including, recently, The Dreamer, says about reading aloud.

"As the story moves forward, I read my work aloud to hear how it sounds. And for good reason. I can read my work silently and think it reads just fine, but when I hear it, I am often disappointed. In those early stages, the work is one giant ball of challenges: it's too wordy, it's lackluster, it's without emotion, there's too little dialog, too much dialog, the pacing is off, the sentences are awkward, and so forth. Reading the manuscript aloud and hearing it helps me sort it out, even before I send it to my editor, who gives me the direction to bring it to the next level."

Keep in mind that just because you are reading your work aloud doesn't mean that being read to is not a good thing. We all love having someone read to us—it is soothing and relaxing and gives us a chance to let our imaginations soar. You are never too old to be read to.

See the following link on why reading aloud is good for teens, too.

For Parents and Teachers Who Are Reading Aloud
With Students and Children

Some students, especially beginning and reluctant readers don't want to read aloud because they feel embarrassed. They don't like attention focused on them because they are not confident with their reading. Here are some pointers to help students get over that initial feeling of insecurity.

  • Explain to students why reading aloud is important and how it will help them not only with their reading, but also with their writing.
  • Suggest that students start practicing reading aloud in the privacy of their own rooms.
  • In a tutoring or parent situation, initially do a lot of the reading aloud yourself. Slowly integrate the student into the reading with a couple of paragraphs, gradually increase the amount to one page, then continue increasing as the student begins to feel more comfortable.
  • Allow students to read the paragraphs silently at first and then tell you when they are ready to read aloud.
  • When reading aloud in a team tutoring situation or group situation, ask students to share their reactions to the reading aloud and to the story content. Invite them to ask questions so that everyone gets involved. This will also assist you in gauging the students' comprehension and reading retention.
  • In group situations, assign acting roles from the wonderful Readers Theater series by Evan-Moor to help students loosen up, have fun, and not feel like they are exclusively in the spotlight.
  • Provide lots of encouragement and help with pacing, pronunciation and sounding out. Compliment students' efforts and encourage them to keep reading aloud until it becomes a fun and enjoyable process.
  • Use incentives like stickers and other rewards to keep students interested and involved in improving their reading aloud skills and building confidence.