Many people think that if you know how to read, you know how to read out loud. Well, yes and no. Reading out loud has a couple of major differences – like speaking and having an audience (that’s a pretty big deal!). Unfortunately, learning how to read out loud in class isn’t usually covered in school (it’s more of a sink-or-swim style of lesson). But if you want to be better-prepared for reading aloud in class, our best strategies can help.
Our 5 Best Strategies for Reading Aloud in Class
Not only is breathing calming, but it’s also necessary (really, you can’t speak without it!). It may seem obvious, but you would not believe how many people tend to hold their breath or forget to breathe when they get nervous. That’s not going to help you! So start out the way you mean to continue. Take a deep breath before you even start reading, and remember to breathe regularly as you go.
2. Pay attention to the words and the meaning.
Students who are nervous about reading out loud tend to get tunnel vision. They read each word as if it had nothing to do with any of the other ones, and by the time they’re done, they have no idea what they’ve read.
The meaning of the sentences will help you know how to say them. It’ll also help people listening understand what you’re saying better.
And here’s the advanced tip – if you’re paying attention to what you’re reading, you can’t worry as much about how you sound or the fact that you’re reading aloud. So focusing on the meaning can actually help reading aloud be less nerve-wracking.
3. Use your normal speaking voice.
Use the same voice you would for regular conversation. I’ve had so many students who think that being a good reader means speeding through like it’s a race. Or students who see Shakespeare’s name and think they have to speak really dramatically and loudly. Nope. That’s not the case.
Don’t worry about going fast, acting, or any other special way of talking. Simply say the words out loud the way you would if you were speaking them to a friend. If you pay attention to the meaning when you speak, you will have all the inflection you need to read well.
4. Don’t treat mistakes like a big deal.
What’s so nerve-wracking about reading aloud? The idea of being made fun of. Students are afraid of being mocked or looked down on because they’re not very good at reading out loud. Or because they’re not as good as another student in the class. Or because they make a mistake.
But here’s the thing – you’re all going to make mistakes. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but it’s true. Students, teachers, readers, or listeners: every single person in that classroom makes mistakes. You know what that means? Mistakes aren’t a big deal. They’re not. They’re just a fact of life.
If you make a mistake, correct it (learn from it), and move on. If someone else makes a mistake, let it go. Don’t make fun of anyone for a mistake – whether it’s yourself, your classmate, or your teacher.
This is the best and most important tip you will ever get for reading aloud: practice. That goes for reading out loud as well as just plain reading because the more you do something, the better you get at it. And that includes using these strategies.
Don’t expect to try using these strategies for the first time in class and miraculously having all your reading problems disappear (that’s silly). Sorry to burst any bubbles, but getting better at something takes practice.
If you want to get better at reading, read more. If you want to get better at reading out loud, read out loud more. Read to yourself. Read to your family. Read to your friends. You can even read to your pets! The point is you need to actually do it to get better.
Follow All 5 Strategies for Reading Aloud in Class
These 5 strategies work together to help you overcome common reading mistakes. Following strategies 1, 2, and 3 will help you stop rushing (as opposed to thinking to yourself, “Don’t rush.”). They also help you communicate meaning so that both you and your listeners have a better understanding of the passage.
And strategies 4 and 5 are the glue that hold the other strategies together. They build confidence and help you use the other strategies to really improve. So whatever your age or grade, follow all 5 strategies if you really want to excel at reading aloud.
Do you have any questions? What else would you like to know about reading out loud?
Author: Elizabeth F., Writer and Teacher at A Grade Ahead.