When You Read Aloud, Does it Improve Comprehension?

In order for an individual to improve at reading, they must develop their comprehension skills. Comprehending text comes as a result of persistent practice, patience, and a in-depth awareness of phonics and word building. To enhance this skill, students can read aloud - a simple but effective activity, as we are about to find out.

Let's reiterate the importance of comprehension. Without it, students may be able to read text, but they will be focusing so hard on identifying words that they won't have the time or attention to devote to understanding the meaning of what is being said. This hinders their ability in literacy tasks, as well as restricting the enjoyment they are able to extract out of books - when reading independently, it's very hard to enjoy a story that you don't fully understand the plot and themes of.

It's clear to see that comprehension is of high importance for developing readers, but what can we do to improve it? The title of this article is a clear hint; reading aloud is a great tool to improve the way we understand and withdraw meaning from the text laid out in front of us.

Perhaps the greatest beauty of using the 'read aloud' technique is that sounding out words is made so much easier. When a difficult word arises, the student can have a go at sounding it out slowly and carefully. Most basic words can be read in this way, as they usually sound how they are written. It may take a few tries, but with the correct guidance, the individual should be able to speak the word as it should be read.

The improvement of all of these skills is based upon phonemic awareness; as this increases, so will comprehension. In simple terms, this is the ability to break down words into smaller segments orally, allowing the student to identify common letter sounds, prefixes and suffixes that they can later apply.

Through implementing this measure over time, the student will begin to recognize particular words from past experience, and will thus be able to read them automatically as opposed to sounding them out - a time consuming exercise. It's only by immediately knowing what a word is that the pupil can understand its meaning. By putting the meanings of different words together, they can begin to understand whole sentences, paragraphs, and later: entire stories.

As mentioned above, the read aloud process for improving comprehension should be carried out under supervision from a teacher or parent to maximize its success. This ensures any mistakes are noted and dealt with - an essential measure to enhance the student's reading and understanding abilities in the longer term.

Bearing all of this information in mind, the answer to the question 'when you read aloud, does it improve comprehension?' is a resounding yes. It's an age-old, tried and tested measure that looks unlikely to ever be outdated thanks to its simplicity and proven positive outcomes. In this case, past methods really do resemble that of the future.