Reading aloud can help with pronunciation and understanding while improving memory and boosting self-confidence. And those are four very good reasons why everyone should start reading aloud more often, whether at home or with an audience.
Reading aloud is making a comeback and is increasingly being appreciated for its many virtues. In fact, reading aloud can help develop skills and self-confidence. Here are four good reasons to read aloud.
To improve pronunciation
When children read in silence, they aren't able to pay attention to the way in which they're reading. Does their voice go down at the end of a sentence? Are they mispronouncing the words that they read? Are they articulating properly? Reading aloud can help pick up on any problems while helping kids learn.
But even for adults, reading aloud can help with pronunciation. Julia Sandford-Cooke, editor, writer and Advanced Member of the UK's Society for Editors and Proofreaders, wrote in a post on the Canadian government's "Our Languages" blog that reading stories aloud to her daughter each night made her more aware of how she spoke.
"I have a habit of speaking very quickly, while my husband tends to mumble. Regularly reading a story to someone else ... has made us more aware of how we sound and how to ensure we are understood. We've both heard these benefits transfer to our everyday conversations. Our intonation is better, and we're careful to add tone and emphasis to our voices," she explains.
To help with comprehension
When reading aloud, we hear the words we are pronouncing, we pay greater attention to them, we slow down, we ask ourselves questions. The Reading Aloud in Britain Today study, carried out between 2017 and 2019 among over 500 people in the UK, found that for some people, reading aloud helped them make sense of complex texts, such as contracts or digital documents.
To improve memory
Reading aloud helps us remember the words we are reading. Colin MacLeod, a psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, found that speaking text aloud helps get words into our memory, more so than reading in silence. This phenomenon is known as the "production effect." Listening and repeating improve memorization.
"Students and their teachers have long known the benefits of reading textbooks together. Repeating facts, and having the opportunity to discuss them, helps the knowledge sink in," confirms Julia Sandford-Cooke.
To boost your self-confidence
This is certainly a good reason for us all to be reading aloud more often, and in front of others. From primary school age, we learn to read in class and to speak aloud. This skill doesn't come naturally to all schoolchildren and can sometimes lead to issues with self-confidence or legitimacy, like the fear of mispronouncing a word, or the fear of being mocked.
Practicing reading aloud can help overcome this fear. And with practice, the rhythm soon starts to flow, while tone, intonation and emotion can all be conveyed without over-dramatizing a text.