Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Read Aloud?

My school just started the DRA reading assessment to track student reading. The assessment has the students read aloud, and my coworker wondered why do we need to have students read aloud. I have been giving this some thought, and have come up with a few answers.

If the students did not read aloud, we could not tell if they were properly pronouncing the words. I not only think that reading aloud is necessary for an assessment, but I also make it a daily reading practice. For ESL students, school may be the only place where they can hear and practice English pronunciation.

Reading aloud also shows the teacher and student what words the student skips. All but one of my 17 students are non-native speakers, and they speak mostly fluently, but with little errors like leaving out articles or the "-ed" for past tense verbs. I feel that reading aloud internalizes the language for the students. With the students using their senses of sight, hearing, and I would argue their sense of touch as well. (I say this because moving the tongue could be a form of muscle memory.)

Reading aloud scaffolds English for the non-native speakers.
As the students do not have a good foundation of English outside the classroom and school, reading aloud gives the students a good example of how to speak English while putting what they learn into immediate practice. I usually have my students read stories more than once a week, but that is another conversation.

I only teach elementary school, but I suspect that secondary students can use the practice reading aloud as well. I do know that when I read aloud in Japanese, it is much more difficult and it helps me recall and pronounce the words when I am conversing.

No comments:

Post a Comment