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Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is a popular way to get some extra English speaking practice at home. You don’t need anyone else around, and you can read anything you like, from books to articles to blog posts. And although reading aloud may conjur images of being forced to read to the class at school (never a pleasant experience), reading aloud can bring you many advantages:

  • At its simplest, reading aloud increases the amount of Enlish talking time you have available. Also:

  • Reading complex texts aloud helps you to understand them better

  • Reading aloud helps you remember words and ideas more easily

This is what’s known as ‘the production effect’. Because you are producing language rather than reading in your mind, you are creating a stronger connection to the text and its contents.

So, how can you make the most of this simple yet powerful idea? Check out these ideas:

  • Start by reading aloud where possible. For example, if you are reading an article read it, or some of it, aloud.

  • If you are reading something very complex that you don’t understand well, read it out loud.

  • If you are learning vocabulary, read the words aloud as you study rather than do this in silence.

  • If you are reading a story and you have a recording of it (so either a graded reader or an authentic novel with an accompanying audio book) make sure to read and listen! Listening to someone else read is also beneficial for our memory. In addition, you can make a recording of yourself reading the book and compare it to the MP3 recording.

  • If you are in an exam and cannot read aloud but are struggling with a difficult text, you can mouth it to yourself silently. This means that your mouth moves as you read, but you don’t make any sound. This will help you to understand the text more than silent reading.

Are there any disadvantages to reading aloud? Well, obviously it’s much slower than reading silently so in situations where you don’t have much time it isn’t a suitable strategy. In addition, you may find yourself in places where you don’t want to read aloud (such as on a bus!) and that’s fine. Finally, although reading aloud is a great strategy, fast, silent reading is also a necessary skill to develop. Therefore, you shouldn’t aim to do all of your reading aloud. Just treat it as a strategy you can use when the time is right.

Some ideas from this blog post came from this webpage:

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