301. Subject: Re: a child reading out loudThanks in advance for your time and helping a little child!  My daughter's school teacher stated that even though she is very behind in her reading that we should not have her read out loud.  I would think that we need to have her read out loud in order to have her advance with her reading.  Is this correct or is the teacher missing it?  My opinion is that we need to have her read out loud in order to help her advance in the reading skill!Please let me know what studies have shown.  Thanks.

ANSWER:

BOTH, you and the teacher are correct.  
 
The teacher is correct in suggesting that READING OUT LOUD should NEVER take place while the child, especially a very young child, is attempting to READ FOR THE VERY FIRST time some text.   The child, naturally, is busy trying to pay attention to the symbols (letters) on the page, their combinations, and the relationships of SOME of the symbols to sounds in the child's speech.   AT this time, the child is very busy DECODING, deciphering, breaking the visual code that, so imperfectly, attempts to represent sounds in the child's language.   The child may also be paying attention to other visual cues -- pictures, drawing, depicted objects, etc.   SO, at this time, WHEN THE CHILD FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME attempts to "read" (actually just decode, decipher, resolve the mysteries of sound-symbol relationships), at this very FIRST TIME, NO CHILD should be asked to read out loud.  Such reading will be very broken, not smooth, with lots of pauses as the child thinks about OTHER cues but NOT about understanding the story, etc.  
 
An adult or a proficient young reader, VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE WORDS and THE STORY line, should be reading FOR the first-time reader of the text.   The adult or proficient reader (or a tape recorded or CD version of the text) should read OUT LOUD the second, third, fourth time UNTIL the child can read along, with ease, with appropriate intonation, and showing that the child can instantly decode about 95% of the words in the text.    
 
Thus, what should a child read out loud???  
 
WHAT THE CHILD NO LONGER "decodes," but rather, instantly recognizes and pronounces ("reads") with total fluency, appropriate intonation, normal rhythm, feelings, and with total ease of reading!!!   Now, as the child "reads" fluently OUT LOUD, the child's reading skills will be improved.   So, have the child read OUT LOUD easier reading selections, what the child "decoded" months ago and can read NOW with such ease that it sounds JUST LIKE TALKING!!!!!!
 
I hope this helps you!!! 
 
There is a place for reading "along," and another very different place for reading "ALOUD."   Even in my upper grade classes, I NEVER ask my almost grown students to read aloud THE VERY FIRST TIME we encounter NEW text.   That is my job, or the job of a tape or CD recording.   At this time, even my very tall and very well-developed students read ALONG with me --they read silently while I read to them, with my students following along the text read by me, a tape or a CD.  Now, AFTER they have heard and seen every word in the text, they understand the meaning and they have heard the proper pronunciation, intonation, rhythm of the selected text, then, for homework, I ask them to read out loud and answer questions or do other types or written work to show comprehension.   Parents write verification notes to me indicating they HEARD their students reading out loud.   Actually,  many parents HEAR their students reading aloud and ENJOY the reading selections!!!!!
 
Thanks for sending me a GREAT QUESTION!

 

 

 


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