For many, reading is a silent, internal process.
When I did my CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), my tutor taught me that reading aloud was unnatural and, therefore, didn’t have a place in the classroom.
As I’ve developed as a teacher, especially as a teacher of adult ESOL literacy, I’ve explored this belief a lot. I’ve discovered that reading aloud is an essential part of the English language classroom.
Here are some beneficial ways you can use reading aloud in your language classroom:
Try reading aloud to your students
Reading to students is a great way to add some energy, drama, and fun to the classroom. It provides an opportunity for English learners to hear the words and be exposed to the concept of reading. It can also activate imaginations, build vocabulary, and improve overall understanding of the language.
Students can listen and follow the text as the teacher reads or simply enjoy listening to the text.
Have your students read aloud
Getting students to read aloud is one of the best ways to check that their sound decoding skills are developing. It also provides an opportunity to practice pronunciation and check that they understand punctuation.
There have also been studies to show that reading aloud aids memory. Colin MacLeod, a psychology researcher at the University of Waterloo, Canada, found that readers of all ages remembered words better if they read them aloud. He calls this "the production effect."
Be aware that some learners may lack confidence in reading aloud in front of peers. This can be especially true for learners with dyslexia or for those who find literacy challenging.
In this case, aim to create a welcoming, supportive, and respectful classroom atmosphere, and allow learners to work in small groups or pairs to read aloud.
Practice choral reading
Choral reading is a great way to read aloud in class. It gets everyone involved and allows learners to gain confidence before reading alone.
Simply display a text on the whiteboard or screen and ask students to read it aloud together. If one learner struggles with a particular word, they can hear how to say it from the other learners or the teacher.
Use technology to read aloud
You can use tools such as the Microsoft Immersive Reader on Ellii to read texts aloud to learners.
Ellii's Word Bank Readers lesson section has tasks where students can...
- read and listen to recorded audio of the text
- record themselves reading a text for the teacher to mark
- watch videos and read aloud with the highlighted reading prompts
Share your thoughts!
Do you use reading aloud in class? If so, how? Let us know in the comments section.