Reading Aloud

BECOMING BETTER AT READING ALOUD

Reading aloud is a lot of work! You have to be able to do three different things all at once: your eyes have to accurately read the words, your mouth has to say what your eyes have just seen, and your ears have to listen to hear if you’ve correctly said the words and observed the punctuation. It’s a lot like juggling, and practice can help you improve your skills. Use the tips below to help you become great at reading aloud.

PART ONE:

1. Read the whole word. Don’t guess after seeing the first few letters.

2. Break longer words down into parts. Use what you have learned about root words, prefixes and suffixes.

3. When you stop to figure out a word, go back after you’ve figured it out and start the sentence again. If you have to stop frequently, go back and start the paragraph again.

4. Listen to what you are saying aloud. If something doesn’t make sense, go back and find the problem.

5. Read slowly enough that your audience can easily follow and comprehend.

PART TWO:

1. Send your eyes ahead of your mouth, so you know what is coming.

2. Observe the punctuation. Make your voice show the punctuation. A comma is a short pause; a period is a longer pause; a new paragraph is an even longer pause. Use those little stops to quickly send your eyes ahead to find out what is coming.

3. When your eyes go ahead, pick key words to emphasize with your mouth. The words you choose affect what your listeners will remember.

4. When your eyes go ahead, group words together to make phrases. Doing that makes it easier for your listeners to understand you.

5. When your eyes go ahead, watch for clues that tell you what tone of voice to use. The mood you portray will affect what your listeners think and feel about the characters and the situation in the text.

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2007 Sophie Rosen.]

Now here is a section for adults that explains more about reading aloud:

LISTENING TO ORAL READING
When you are reading aloud, there are three main categories . . .

1. Are you seeing what is actually on the page?
(Graphaphonics)
Or are you guessing after seeing the first few letters?
E.g. ‘plain’ becomes ‘plan’  or ‘seeker’ becomes ‘seeks’
Sometimes, eyes go so quickly that there is no time to accurately see.
Tip: slow down and look!

2. Are you hearing what you are saying?

(Syntax)
Or are you reading without thinking about the sound of your words?
E.g. ‘reinforce’ gets the accent on the 2nd syllable instead of the 3rd
E.g,. ‘They wanted the car.’ becomes ‘They wanting the car.’
The key point here is the pronounciation of words and grammar.
Do you know what English sounds like and how it works?
Tip: you need to stop and have a very short English lesson.

3. Are you understanding what you are saying?
(Semantics)
Or are you just reading without listening to yourself?
E.g. ‘The ball soared overhead.’ becomes ‘The bale smiled overhead.’
E.g. ‘The cat meowed softly.’ becomes ‘The cat means softly.’
The problem is that you’re not stopping when something doesn’t make sense.
Tip: listen to what you’re saying and stop when it seems  out-of-context or nonsensical.

When you are listening to someone else read aloud, follow along on the page with your own eyes and try to figure out which category seems to be the problem when there is an error.  Then teach the appropriate tips.

©2008 Sophie Rosen

Your Comments!

I’ve noticed that maybe this will improve my reading out loud but reading out the word silently before reading might make others notice that the person is a little slow… (Logan)

Well, Logan . . .
As you get better at reading aloud, your eyes and brain will so skilfully read ahead of your mouth that no one will be able to tell that you’re actually silently prereading the words. Your listeners will just think you’re reading aloud at a comfortable pace and appreciate how easy it is to understand what you’re saying. No one would want to listen to us read aloud as quickly as we can read silently to ourselves. So, the trick is to train ourselves to do three things at once: read silently to ourselves, read aloud to others, and listen to what we’ve just said to make sure it makes sense. It is a truly complex task! (Ms. R.)

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