Reading out aloud is something that young children naturally do but as they grow older is discouraged. In this post I am going to look at why your child needs to be reading out aloud.
There has been a great deal of research looking at the benefits of reading aloud. Here are two of them:
- When someone reads aloud, they are using their mouths to form the words, this physical motor activity helps the brain to remember the word better. At the same time, the reader is hearing their own voice which also helps the brain to remember and store that word in long-term memory. This combination has been termed the ‘production effect’ and the memory boosting effect on the brain has been shown in all age groups even seniors.
- Reading aloud improves comprehension. It has been found that children cannot understand written texts that they cannot understand aurally. This is different to being able to being able to read words but not actually understand them. We have all heard of students being able to read complex texts but not actually understand a word of what they have read. Conversely, we have heard of many students who can understand a book that is read out to them, but they cannot read the actual text. What has been found here is that children must be able to listen to more and more complex speech to enable them to understand what they are reading.
How can we help these skills develop?
In Fast ForWord we spend a lot of time on developing good auditory skills – the exercises work on helping a student to listen carefully, one of the most important underlying skills needed to be able to read and comprehend what they have read.
We also have Reading Assistant Plus where students are required to read out texts to the computer and answer comprehension questions. With this programme we are providing students with a safe place to read out aloud. Something that is often missing in schools. The programme gently corrects pronunciation and lists the words that the student needs to practice. Students are naturally completing the ‘production process’ mentioned in point 1. They are also improving their listening to more and more complex words and so improving their comprehension of what they are reading.
Often children are afraid of reading out aloud in case they make a mistake with pronouncing some of the words. Reading Assistant Plus helps to give students confidence and even with those students who have diagnosed speech difficulties, Reading Assistant Plus together with targeted speech therapy can really help.
For more information on Reading Assistant Plus click here