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Reading aloud in ESL/EFL classroom

Reading aloud a piece of text is not a very popular ESL/EFL activity. Many ESL teachers say that reading aloud is unrealistic because it is never done in real life, we never read aloud in real life. That might be true, but the situation is quite different when we are talking about learners of English.

I can tell you from my own experience as a teacher and learner of English that reading aloud is a powerful activity if it is done correctly. First of all, learners have to know what the text is about. That’s because a learner of English when is reading aloud in front of the class focuses on pronunciation. If a learner of English doesn’t understand what he is reading then the reading activity is nothing but a lost of time.

In order to eliminate this risk, the teacher can do a listening activity using the same text. For example, teacher reads the text aloud and students listen then answer few questions related to the text. This activity brings three main benefits: practicing listening skills, understanding the text, and having a pronunciation model. Once this is achieved, the teacher can do the reading aloud activity.

Each student should read two or three sentences at a time, not the whole text. Divide the text into small bits so each student can read one.

The main reason I do this activity in my lessons is to check the pronunciation of the targeted vocabulary in the context. I ask my students to read slowly, clearly, and loudly so everybody can hear and hopefully understand. Surprisingly, they enjoy listening to a student better than listening to the teacher, and they understand better when the text is read by another student.

In my case, reading aloud is an excellent activity and if it is done well then it can be really helpful for your learners of English.

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