Monday, August 3, 2009

Topic: Teaching Students to Read Aloud Effectively

10-second review: Teaching students to read aloud is an important, but often overlooked, skill in secondary English classes.

Excerpt from Teaching English, How to…. Raymond Stopper. Xlibris, 2004. p. 372-373.

“Round-robin reading,” the practice of having students read aloud a paragraph or two extemporaneously, with each student taking a turn, is NOT the same as teaching students how to read aloud. “Round-robin reading” is a time-waster, a boring activity, accomplishes nothing worth while, and is quite embarrassing to students who do not read aloud well spontaneously.

[Note: Having students read aloud in order to diagnose reading problems is, of course, a good practice, but such an activity usually occurs one-on-one with a teacher or reading specialist and not in public as does “round-robin reading.”]

Reading Aloud Effectively

However, if students practice what they are about to read for the purpose of holding the attention of an audience, then I think reading aloud is a most valuable skill and needs to be taught and, especially, practiced.

How many adults can read aloud effectively? Most U.S. Presidents in my time practiced reading their speeches aloud. Reading aloud is one of the most ignored skills in the English curriculum, and yet it is of great practical value for people who are expected to participate in civic and business organizations. In meetings, the ability to read aloud smoothly and expressively conveys messages effectively. Reading aloud in a monotone while stumbling over the pronunciation of words does not convey messages effectively.

Student should practice what they are going to read aloud. They can practice reading their compositions and reports aloud to parents, siblings, friends, classmates and grandparents—and the mirror—before reading them aloud to the class. The key to successful reading aloud is practice.

Teachers can evaluate the students’ reading aloud as they might evaluate a speech for the purpose of helping the students improve smoothness, articulation and dynamic expression. RayS.

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