Reading Aloud to Students

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Before the 18th century, and the rise of the middle class, reading out loud was common practice. Reading used to be a special occasion where people came together and engaged in a story together. Bards told stories, read poems, and sang songs. Though reading out loud was common before the 18th century due to illiteracy, reading out loud can still be beneficial to us in a time of literacy. I used to love it when my parents read me bedtime stories, and in high school I enjoyed when my college English teacher read out loud to the class.

I enjoyed Hinds’s blog “A Curriculum Staple: Reading Aloud to Teens” because Hinds shows that reading out loud can create more interest in stories and reading. Sometimes students do not like reading because of the level of energy that reading takes, however, listening to someone read out loud does not take much energy. Another benefit of reading to students out loud is that the students can stop the teacher to have him/her explain a word or a portion of the text. The teacher can gauge the students’ interest level and comprehension level of the book when they read out loud. The teacher can also have the students read the book out loud in order to increase their reading abilities and comprehension levels. Reading out loud builds the students’ listening skills and helps the students to connect with the teacher and with the story.

I learned from Gassaway’s blog post, “Ten Realizations I’ve Had Or Remembered While Reading Aloud to Middle Schoolers This Year” that reading out loud to students is a guess-and-check process. Gassaway says that not reading the book before reading it out loud can be bad because there could be words which make the class lose control. But she also says that reading the book before can cause the teacher to lose interest or give away the story to the students. I really enjoyed her statement that if students are not interested when they are being read to that it is not reading aloud that is wrong; it is the book. Reading out loud to students can create an interest in stories and reading. I will be reading out loud to my students in my classroom, and I WILL be doing crazy voices for each character. No one wants to listen to a monotone teacher, and doing voices for different characters can create interest in the story.

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7 thoughts on “Reading Aloud to Students

  1. I’ve incorporated reading aloud in some of our novel studies. Currently, we are reading The Outsiders. I typically start reading aloud and then we break into partners for them to read aloud to each other. It seems to work well.

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  2. I read to all my children especially at bedtime but, I also enjoyed reading to my husband while he was taking a bath. It was nice and peaceful and brought us closer together we also could have a fun debate about what we each retained afterwards. So reading to not just our children or students also has it’s benefits.

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  3. I agree that reading the book prior to reading aloud is a great practice. In theory, it would be done before you read any book aloud. The reality, however, is that sometimes it’s now possible. I am currently reading Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers with my freshmen. There were a few words that made me squirm as I read them aloud, but it was easy to get them back under control. I do wish I had read it prior to reading it aloud.

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  4. “Reading out loud can create more interest in stories and reading.” I agree with you! Reading out loud might be the window into the reading world that students need. If all they see in books is black marks on white paper, we will never reach many of them. By reading out loud, we open a world they may have never known existed.

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  5. I love that you mention doing voices. I only had one teacher, back in middle school, that did voices and it was wonderful. She read all of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe books with voices for each character. Those classes really got me interested in reading.

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  6. I’m excited to do voices for characters in my classroom. Some students might just think I’m making a fool out of myself, but at least they will be paying attention!

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