Silent reading and reading aloud
I’ve always distinguished reading aloud from silent reading in my teaching practices. I rarely ask my students to read a text a loud. If I do, it’s only for only ONE purpose in mind: to practice pronunciation.
I just don’t get why reading aloud should be assigned at all in ELT apart from the above reason. Why does a teacher need to ask students to open the textbook and tell one of them to read a text on a certain page while the others are not necessarily following the reading? Most probably, they might be day dreaming, even sleeping 🙂 In fact reading aloud bears more disadvantages than any merits at all.
Disadvantages of reading aloud
So let’s consider the disadvantages of reading aloud
- Does the students understand the content when he/she reads aloud? I don’t think so. Students main concern when reading aloud is to struggle with the script to decode it. Little attention is on meaning.
- The activity is done by one student. The other students are passively listening (if they are listening at all)
- Students don’t understand the purpose of the reading aloud activity. They just read because you told them so.
- It is a huge waste of precious time.
Meaningful reading aloud activities
How to make it more meaningful?
- While a student is reading aloud, the others are invited to CLOSE their textbooks!
- Give the listening students a list of words on sheets of paper and tell them that they have to tick the vocabulary items that they hear.
- Or give them a focus question that they have to answer while they are listening.
- You might also try to give them a chart to fill while they are listening.
- Another activity that you might use while a student is reading aloud is to tell them to rewrite in their own words what the text is about.
Of course you can think of other imaginative and creative ways. I would be curious to know how you use the activity in your class!