Teaching children to read aloud is important to their development not only as readers but also as overall individuals as it helps children practise and develop a variety of sub-skills. Reading out loud is more than just asking a child to stand up and read in front of a class. It is an effective technique to help them master reading as well as develop confidence, self-esteem, and oratory, presentation and collaboration skills.
1. Developing Reading Fluency
Fluent readers are readers who understand what they read, and this makes them better able to connect what they read with their own lives. According to K. Palette on Education.com, “Fluency is based on automaticity – a reader’s ability to recognise words automatically.” Children who read aloud learn to recognise words quickly and to read with accuracy.
2. Developing Reading Comprehension
Oral reading promotes comprehension. As children become more fluent in their reading, they can better understand what they are reading. When they read a story repeatedly, they learn sentence patterns, words, and organisation patterns. They can then start to pay closer attention to all of the layers of messages of the text.
3. Learning to Think and Read Critically
Students who read out loud develop skills in critical reading and reading expressively. They learn what to emphasise and what to de-emphasise and how to read with appropriate emotion and attitudes. They learn to change their voices to communicate different feelings and ideas. They learn to read and express both the literal and the implied meanings of the text. They learn to think critically about the text, make inferences, and then figure out how to share those inferences with their voices and body language.
4. Learning from Each Other
Children who read together in small groups can practise reading aloud to each other. They give feedback and negotiate meaning together, which encourages collaborative learning. This helps build their interpersonal and collaboration skills and confidence when their classmates offer positive and constructive criticism. Teaching students to accept and to give appropriate feedback is critical to the success of these groups.
5. Building Self-confidence
Students who practise reading a text aloud and then who get good at reading it accurately and with emotion will want to share their new skills and in doing so develop their confidence, oratory skils, self-esteem and presentation skills. Reading aloud can be a shared celebration of new skills mastered. Struggling readers and second language learners especially can be proud of their accomplishments. They gain confidence when they accomplish their reading goal and can share it with others.
by Sanjay Mankani, Managing Director, Fortes Education, Sunmarke School, Regent International School and the Jumeirah International Nurseries