Reading Aloud – Useful or a Waste of Time? #ELTchat Summary 21/09/2011

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Reading Aloud – Useful or a Waste of Time? #ELTchat Summary 21/09/2011

This summary was contributed by Yitzha Sarwono (@yitzhasarwono on Twitter) and posted on her blog   It is reproduced here with her kind permission and our thanks!


For all the curious minds and ELT Enthusiasts out there (as myself too), Wednesday would be one of those day to be looking forward too. Not just because it’s midweek, when Monday has gone and Weekend is about to knock on the door , but because it’s time to once again share ideas and experiences on #ELTChat. And this Wednesday the topic was very interesting :” Reading aloud – Is it useful or just a waste of time?”

Marisa Constatinides (@Marisa_C) , Shaun Wilden (@shaunwilden) and Berni Wall (@Rliberni) as always moderated the chat and questioned us whether reading out loud  is a special skill and if it is something we need to include in our lessons.


Reasons why we may include reading aloud practice:


1.    Students, especially young ones, love reading aloud because it helps to build their confidence in using English, when staged correctly.

2.    Reading aloud, if it’s performed with good intonation, brings the text to life.

3.    It’s one way to give students an opportunity to speak up, especially quiet ones.

4.    It is good for their pronunciation, understanding punctuation marks and pausing appropriately.


Reasons why Reading aloud can be a waste of time according to the participants:


1.    Reading aloud is not reading because it’s focused on the person who reads  rather than the reading passage itself

2.    We will only be focusing on the pronunciation, not the context. It won’t give us a chance to check understanding of the text.

3.    It is not a real world skill, though it’s a lovely skill  to have

4.    It does not help a lot with the reading skills.

5.    It can be very boring as some students will become idle.



Ways of making reading aloud useful 


But then again there are ways to make reading aloud a useful stage of a reading or listening lesson, and those are:

1.    Organise it in small groups so all  get a chance without waiting for too long and ending up being idle.

2.    Find short texts with engaging topics. Some ideas that came up were to use story books, TV series screenplays, and coursebook dialogues

3.    Students should be given time to rehearse first before reading aloud.

4.    You can use RA for student practice on their own scripts for their presentation so they can focus on the intonation.

5.    Find a fun activity to combine with it

  •  Pop corn reading ; students control how much/little they read and choose the next student to read.(via @escocesa_madrid)
  •  Videoing students as news anchors (via @japglish)
  •  Use a voice tools like Voki-voice thread (via @Marisa_C)
  • Use gestures; students to stand up/move when they hear certain word (via @mmgrindberg)
  •  Musical chairs activity (via @oflazmerve)

Some things we need to remember during reading aloud:


1.    What to do with the rest of the students while one student is reading aloud.

2.    Whether it is necessary to stop and correct a student’s pronunciation mistakes during the reading.

3.    Whether it is better to do it individually or in small group.

4.   Allowing students to practise in front of a mirror, so they can see their own expression and create a better outcome.

5.    Picture books may be the best reading aloud sources.



Some memorable tweets :


@Shaunwilden        : Let me throw another grenade: Reading aloud is not reading #eltchat

@AlexandraKouk    : Helps with pronunciation and speaking aspects, like chunking #eltchat

@du_siemens          : I do think that reading aloud teacher raise students’ awareness to pronunciation and to some other aspects #eltchat

@elt_bakery : I find kids love doing it. Not because they love reading aloud but but because the focus of the lesson is on them #eltchat

@JoshSRound         : Reading aloud is not a real world skill, when do we ever need to do it? #eltchat

@escocesa_madrid :My students introduced me to the idea of popcorn reading.They choose how much they read #eltchat

@rliberni                   : with our children, reading aloud is a lovely skill #eltchat

@Marisa_C              : For young learners, Reading aloud is an activity with has ‘face’ with them AND the parents #eltchat

@Marisa_C              : Reading aloud is a great skill to teach teachers on a Language Development course #eltchat

@harrisomike          : short text are better for reading aloud, otherwise it can take up a lot of time #eltchat

@harrisonmike        : Reading aloud can help identify reading comprehensive issues such as dyslexia. Learners read what they think they read there #eltchat

@mmgrinberg         : I often use Reading aloud with course book. Understand -> Reading aloud -> Remember -> Personalize #eltchat

@bethcagnol           : I use The Office (American version). My business students love it. First season early episodes are the best #eltchat

@annehodg             : Reading aloud? Sure. I use it for student practice on their own scripts for presentation so they can focus on the intonation. #eltchat

@elt_bakery : I’ve tried watching a videos with no sounds and students reading the script using the intonation they think the best suit the auctioned scene #eltchat

@du_siemens          : once I had my students put the dialogue in order and then acting it out in front of the class. After I played the listening #eltchat

@mmgrindberg       : So, after all I would say Reading aloud is a rather exotic that can often be replaced with something else, except for dialogues and memorizing #eltchat


Some links about Reading aloud:


And some great videos:



For sure we have shared a lot about Reading aloud and given out some great ideas on how to make it works. Thank you so much for our lovely moderators; Marisa, Shaun and Berni who once again managed to keep the discussion fast, addictive and enjoyable. Thanks also to all who had found time between their busy teaching hours to join #ELTChat.


To end this summary, I’d like to quote Eduardo Siemens (@du_siemens) on this whole #ELTChat with Reading aloud as the topic :

“Our experience as a learner define us as a Teacher, then”


See you guys next week ^_^


Icha Sarwono


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