Reading aloud may not seem like a big deal until you need to read out loud in front of an audience. There and then, you’ll quickly realize how reading aloud is one of the most rewarding skills you can master. If you’re reading something aloud soon, you should be seeking how to read aloud better.
Getting better at reading aloud is a gradual process that comes with practice and skill. To get better at reading aloud, you must first improve your confidence and general reading skills. Then, you can attempt to read some passages in front of an audience to gain first-hand loud reading experience.
In this article, I’ll show you some tips to help you read aloud better in front of an audience. Also, you’ll learn how reading aloud can improve you as a person, and why you need to read aloud more often.
If you have an upcoming presentation, you won’t be asking for the benefits of reading aloud. However, if you just heard that reading aloud is better than reading silently, the next logical question should be how.
In case you don’t know why you should practice and perfect your loud reading skills, here are some of the benefits of reading aloud, either alone or in front of an audience.
- It improves your vocabulary.
If you’ve always read silently your entire life, you’ll be pronouncing a large number of words incorrectly for one simple and obvious reason; you don’t practice pronunciation of words at all.
I don’t think I need to say this, but reading silently is very different from reading aloud. When you read aloud, you need to pronounce every single word of the passage, asking for help when you don’t know how to pronounce a word.
It gets even better when you read loudly in front of an audience, as that makes it possible for them to correct you if you pronounce anything wrong.
Reading silently is a whole different thing. Firstly, the possibility of someone randomly hearing you pronouncing something wrongly is canceled out. Secondly, you don’t pronounce most words quite often, and consequently, your vocabulary won’t be great.
If you never knew reading loudly could improve your vocabulary and help you develop your spoken English, now you know.
- It’s fun.
If you don’t read aloud quite often, you won’t understand how reading aloud can be much more fun than reading silently. But your not understanding doesn’t change the fact that reading aloud is a more enjoyable activity than reading on mute.
When someone reads out a passage and they mispronounce a word, it’s fun when there’s someone around to correct them without making fun of them.
Your parents most probably read you storybooks when you were a kid to entertain you. If you’re reading out a passage meant for entertainment, you won’t be the only person enjoying the story.
- May improve comprehension.
Reading aloud may help you and your listener better comprehend what you’re reading, depending on what it is and what kind of learner you and your readers are.
There’s this belief that learners are of many different types: auditory, hands-on, visual, and so on. An auditory learner will learn better when they listen to a lesson, while a visual learner will prefer to look at diagrams and graphs because they understand that better.
If you or your audience happen to be auditory learners, reading aloud is the best way to pass a message across to you. The only way you can find out if you’re an auditory learner is by listening to lessons, and you can’t hear anyone clearer than you hear yourself.
If you want to improve your level of understanding of a passage, try reading it out loud to see if it gets any clearer.
- You’ll be less distracted.
The lesser the number of activities you’re doing, the easier you can be distracted. If you’re finding it hard focusing on a book, consider reading that book aloud to see if anything changes.
When you read silently in your mind the only things you’re doing are reading the words from the book, and trying to understand them. However, when you’re reading out loud, you’re reading the words, pronouncing them, listening to them, processing what you listened to, and trying to make sense of it.
If that sounds like a lot of steps, that’s because it is. While it may not seem like a lot of work to you, it’s genuinely working your brain, which is a good thing.
Firstly, your brain understands problems better and makes better decisions when it is working hard. Secondly, your brain will be reluctant to abandon an activity that’s working it hard, as it will take some effort to return to the activity.
So, if you don’t want every beep from your phone to disrupt your reading, try reading your books aloud.
- It’s a form of exercise!
Exercising every part of your body is essential to having a healthy body overall. The best way to train your voice is by exercising your mouth, and the only way to exercise your mouth is by speaking loudly.
If you’re an avid reader, chances are that you read more words than you speak. To improve your spoken English, reading aloud will prove to be more helpful in this case than speaking more often because you can only use words that you already know while speaking, while reading introduces you to new words.
Understanding why you struggle when you try to read out loud to an audience will set you on the path towards correcting your mistakes. Here are some of the reasons why you’re finding it difficult to be fluent while reading loudly.
- Lack of confidence
It takes a lot of confidence to stand in front of an audience and demonstrate your reading and pronunciation skills to them, especially if you’re not a native English speaker.
Ironically, this lack of confidence doesn’t help matters. The lower your confidence level is, the less likely you are to volunteer to read out loud, and if you don’t try to read aloud frequently, you’ll barely improve your grammar skills.
- You enjoy reading silently
Since we’ve always read silently our entire lives, we often default to voiceless reading whenever we come across a passage or book. This knack for reading inside our minds is the subconscious option, and we default to it without even thinking.
However, when the option to read silently is unavailable, reading aloud feels like doing something you’re not comfortable with.
Let’s use writing as an example. If you’re like every other person I know, you only use one hand when writing, and you stick with it, perfecting your handwriting.
Now, imagine being invited to a competition where you can only write with your weak hand. Needless to say, you’ll perform woefully. This case is similar to that of reading too. The fact that you read silently all the time and you enjoy doing it has made you so attached to it that you’ll perform woefully if you try to do otherwise.
Now you know how beneficial it is to read aloud, but how do you do it?
You may have watched a politician reading out their manifesto beautifully or even your mum reading a passage from your favorite storybook intelligently. How do you replicate these actions?
In this section, I’ll show you how to get incrementally better at reading aloud by following some simple steps. Here are some tips that will help you become a terrific loud reader.
- Start simply
I know how much you like to read Shakespeare’s books in a traditional British accent, but you shouldn’t even try, as that is one of the worst ways to learn how to read aloud in general.
If you’re trying to get better at reading aloud, you must start from passages that are simpler to read out loud. Reading simple poems and kid rhymes aren’t bad starting points and you can also read passages from your favorite books; you can even read columns from a newspaper!
When reading these simple pieces, pay attention to words that look or sound strange, and try to confirm if you’re pronouncing them correctly.
Fortunately, the advent of technology has made it unnecessary to ask someone to help you. You can simply ask Google to pronounce the word, and then choose if you prefer the American or British pronunciation of the word.
The more experience you get reading simple passages, the easier it will be when you try to take on more complex passages, reports, or speeches.
- Mimic excellent readers
One great thing about reading is that it’s impossible to obtain a trademark for your reading style. Since this is the case, you can aspire to read exactly like your favorite loud reader without worrying about lawsuits or any legal trouble.
If there are teachers, celebrities, newscasters, journalists, or YouTubers that you wished you spoke and read like, you can start trying to mimic them.
Speak like your role model in casual conversations and practice consistently to read exactly as they do. In no time, you’ll notice an improvement in the way you read aloud, even if you’re not a perfect mimic of your role model.
- Improve your confidence
This tip could have a whole article to it, but it should also be here, as it’s one of the most important parts of reading aloud.
If you’re not as confident as you should be, then it doesn’t matter if you can read excellently or not, you’ll be unable to read in front of an audience anyway.
To improve your reading confidence in front of an audience, try reading in front of people you’re familiar with. Read in front of your younger brothers and sisters, to your parents, or even in front of your friends.
Doing this gives you the confidence you need to stand before a group of people to read out a passage. You can also take some self-improvement classes on YouTube or read some blogs about building your confidence to see how well that could help.
However, it’s crucial to always relate every guide to reading and public speaking, as the practice of reading aloud before an audience perfectly intermixes both your reading and public speaking skills.
- Improve your general reading skills
Sometimes, the magic you need to become the best person at reading aloud is becoming the best person at reading. If you suspect that your reading skills aren’t the best, it helps to try improving your reading skills before moving on to reading aloud.
Improving your reading skills may not be as much of a task as you think. You simply have to read more frequently to improve your reading skills.
If you find it difficult to read frequently, you may not be lazy like me. Try checking if you don’t have difficulty seeing the letters from a book. If you do, you may need a glass to help you simplify the process of reading.
Once you find it easier to read, reading aloud will become much easier. After all, reading aloud only uses your reading, pronunciation, and maybe public speaking skills.
- Avoid being expressionless
A common mistake that most people make with reading aloud has to do with their expressions while reading. Reading out a passage, as I already emphasized, is distinct from reading it silently.
One of the differences between reading aloud and reading quietly is the fact that you have to demonstrate what you’re reading when you read aloud.
When reading dialogue aloud, you may want to raise your voice to indicate an angry speech or lower it to indicate calm speech. You should neither read too fast nor too slow, and it’s best to read as you think the author wants the characters to say the lines.
Of course, this requires practice, and a lot of it as well. Not only do you have to practice how to do it in general, but you also have to practice for every passage you’re reading. Just make sure you’re not that boring reader that reads everything like an uninteresting financial report.