Reading aloud activity is commonly used by teachers all around the world. However,most ELT methodology authors such as Broghton,Brumfit,Flavell,Hill,and Pincas, on the other hand some speacialists suggest its use. The discussion about reading aloud is a perennial one. It has been discussed over thirty years or more,reading aloud is beneficial or just a time filler. In recent years,it is proven to be a useful tool while acquiring vocabulary,developing reading skills and comprehension of context. Reading aloud effects language learning in a positive manner.
There will be a comprehensive revision of reading aloud and will be answered the following questions: 1-What are the effects of read-aloud activities? 2-What are the advantages or disadvantages of reading aloud activities? 3-How can teachers use read-aloud activities to enhance student’s ability to read? II. THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT READING ALOUD Reading aloud is regarded as bad practice by EFL/ESL teachers and by EFL/ESL methodology experts(Amer, 1997, 43). For example, Hill and Dobbyn(1979: 69) consider that reading aloud is only a way of filling 45 minutes in classroom and reading aloud is not beneficial for students(cited in Amer, 1997, 43).
Other oppositions to reading aloud claim that: It is boring, causing anxiety and it has no noteworthy benefit for the students, particularly for the listeners. Reading aloud is a complicated activity to do well both for native speakers and language learners, so this might cause demotivation of students (Gibson, 2008, 29 – 30). The pupils might be handicapped by English spelling and make mistakes in the pronunciation of words they know orally (Birch cited in Gibson, 2008, 30). ‘A frequently cited reason for using reading aloud is for the improvement of pronunciation.
However, doubt is cast on the effectiveness of this by Celce-Murcia, Brinton, and Goodwin (1996) because of the controlled and therefore slightly unnatural texts that are often used; these do not neccessarily help pronunciation in spontaneous speech(cited in Gibson,2008, 30). These texts usually edit redundancy, fragmentation, and incompleteness which feature in everyday speech(Gibson, 2008, 30). ’ Reading aloud is actually important for the EFL/ESL readers, especially at the beginning of learnig the language. These learners tend to read word by word because of their limited linguistic skill while reading to themselves.
They have anxiety to coprehend each word, they tend to seperate sentences into unmeaningful parts when they read. As a result, the sentences lose their totality so they become meaningless (Dhaif cited in Amer, 1997, 43). III. THE EFFECTS OF THE TEACHER’S READING ALOUD ON STUDENTS The role of reading aloud in EFL/ESL learning has not researched very much, but some studies has been made. For example; May (1986: 74) researched the effect of theacher’s reading aloud in English on the reading understanding of native Spanish-speaking children.
He found out that the research favours use of reading aloud with EFL students regardless of linguistic level (cited in Amer, 1997, 44). Another study with Spanish-Speaking children has shown that reading aloud has an important positive effect on ESL learners’ reading comprehension, especially their ability to inter-relate, interpret and draw conclusions from the content (Santos cited in Amer, 1997: 44). An experiment made by Amer (1997) in order to find out the effect of the teacher’s read aloud on the reading comprehension of sixth-grade EFL learners reading a narrative text.
He divided into two classes the students from an intermediate school in Cairo. The experimental class involves 39 students and the control class involves 36 students. All of the students had been studying EFL for six years. The Perfect Pearl by Osborne(1989) was used in the study. Then, the story was divided into four part and all parts were taught one by one in different days. Different teachers taugt each class. The teacher who taught the experimental class was trained by Amer to read the whole story aloud meaningfully. The key vocabulary in the part was given and it is read in the classroom, it is discussed and explained.
To keep learners motivated and interested, they were told to read silently when the teacher read aloud. For keeping learners attention, teacher stopped at random spots in the text and demand them to read the next word. Then teacher asked some questions about the text. The same process was applied with the control class but that students read the text silently with no oral reading. Finally, two tests were used to evaluate the effect of reading aloud. The first test was a multiple choice, the second test was an adapted form of a story frame.
The result was that the experimental group outperformed the control group on multiple choice and story frame tests. He concluded that learners had better understand of what they were reading in the teacher reading aloud process than in the silent reading process. Reading aloud by the teacher can aid EFL learners to improve a positive manner towards reading. Besides, reading aloud can stimulate them to read for pleasure. (Amer, 1997, 46). IV. THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF READING ALOUD L2 learners face some reading and writing problems because of the opacity of English orthography and the specific skills requires to decode it.
Native English speakers produce different strategies to cope with this (Gibson, 2008: 30). L1 readers may not have produced these strategies because their orthographies are different from English, they have to get them so that they can read fluently in English. They tend to trust their L1 reading strateies when reading in English(Gibson, 2008: 30) So as to accelerate word recognition and to aid pronounce and learn new words it is very important making accurate connections between graphemes and phonemes (Stanovich cited in Gibson, 2008: 30).
Reading aloud supplies readers to make and practise these connections. Birch proposes reading aloud as practice so that the pupils have as much feedback as possible on their decoding abilities. Reading aloud can also aid to improve reading fluency; Grabe and Stoller reccomend paired re-reading activities, where students try to accelerate their reading aloud via re-reading the same passage to each other for one minute and try to speed up each time (cited in Gibson, 2008, 31 ). Reading aloud might be a very useful diagnostic device.
The intonation the student uses can show that where comprehension is not accurate (Underhill, cited in Gibson, 2008: 31 ). For instance, a teacher listening to a student’s reading aloud can specify the problems such as pronunciation, comprehension of graphemic-phonemic connections and so on. Some expert books on pronunciation are likely to focus on segmental and the accurate production of particular sounds or at most, single sentences are read aloud or spoken. Reading aloud is used for rehearsed speaking activities and to make new learnt speech patterns permanent by Chun (2002).
This can supply students reading aloud each other. She advocates that listening and imitating should be used rarely because students quickly tire of it (cited in Gibson, 2008). Dictation by a student to a classmate or group is suggested for pronunciation practice as well ( Davis and Rinvolucri cited in Gibson 2008: 32). Foss and Reitzel (1988) suggest that reading aloud is a way of cutting down communication anxiety, however it is seen as anxiety-provoking by some students (cited in Gibson, 2008: 32).
Willis(2008: 59) uses choral reading in order to reduce students’ stress of reading alone. The process of reading aloud together strenghten patterns. (Willis ibid. ) Reading aloud activities can be the only speaking opportunity that timid students have, so reading aloud aid timid and unconfident students with speaking exercise for a limited time until they feel themselves capable of speaking spontaneously (Gibson, 2008: 32). Reading aloud has an indirect mission in writing, however it is connected to writing with intonation.
Chafe (1986, cited by Tench 1996) advocates that while wirting has no intonation, stress or pauses, both readers and writers tend to assign these elements to whatever they are reading and writing, in this way intonation might affect what is written, whether it is informal or formal formulaic letter (Gibson, 2008, 32). Earl Stevick (1989) interviewed seven particularly successful language learners and found that most of them, involving himself, used reading aloud as a learning technique outside the classroom.
One learner chose to read aloud,rather than silently, to practise intonation and get the sound and flow of the language, particularly in the early stages of learning. He said it aided his comprehension-it is likely that reading aloud aided him to chunk the text into sense groups,even though he said he did not understand all the words-and to learn by heart new words. Another student found reading aloud was particularly beneficial for the improvement of his pronunciation. Others spoke of reliance, primarily in the beginning stages of language learning, on visual information to help access meaning, and then repeating it aloud to themselves.
‘Stevick himself also liked to link what he was seeing with his articulatory processes and audotoriy feedback, and realized that he remembered things better if he said them aloud. ’Macaro (2001) suggests subvocalization as a technique for memorization. It seems that Stevick’s students were repeating words and phrases louder than in subvocalization for this and other aims (Gibson,2008, 32-33 ) ‘ V. VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT DURING READING ALOUD Reading aloud can give the opportunity to children to gain vocabulary and it affects the cildren by enhancing their vocabulary (Rosenhouse et al cited in Terblanche, 2002: 6).
Reding aloud to children gives a strong context for building vocabulary as well (Biemiller & Boote 2006,Bravo et al. 2007 cited in Kindle,2009 : 202). Besides,children are exposed to a more discriptive flow of language than of their daily language and conversation,their vocabulary enrichs with each story (Terblanche,202: 6). However, the book chosen for read alouds should be appealing,thus read aloud increase the children’s motivation and interest (Fisher et al. cited in Kindle,2009: 202) and the probability of novel words learning (Bloom cited in Kindle ibid).
Smith and Elley pointed out that vocabulary acquisition are expanded while the teacher or adult reading aloud demonstrates or gives information about the targeted words (cited in Terblanche,2002: 6). Even brief explanation of one or two sentences, while presenting the text,can be beneficial for children to make beginning links between novel words and their meaning (Biemiller & Boote cited in Kindle,2009 : 203). According to Carey, word learning is extended via repeated readings of text and this gives opportunities to revise and refine word meaning ( Kindle,2002: 203 ).
These repetitions support students to go deeper stages of word reportory from never heard it to sounds familiar,to has something to do with,to well known (Dale cited in Kindle ibid). In addition,talking about the story during and post reading can support informal communication about words,language,opinions and real life experiences ( Terblanche,2002: 6). Reading aloud genarally supported but the most appropriate form is not clear ( Fisher et al. cited in Santoro et al. 2008: 397). Beck and Mckeown (2001) discovered the use of “text talk” in the first grade classrooms.
Their study proposed that text based debates as part of reading aloud can enhance vocabulary gaining and understanding ( Beck el at. cited in Santoro, 2008 : 397). Carey recommended a two-stage model for acquiring word which includes fast and extended mapping. Fast mapping is a tool for incidental word learnig(cited in Kindle 2009: 203 ) Extended mapping is needed to achieve complete word knowledge. The definition is revised and refined to show new information via additional exposures(Carey 1978; Justice el at. cited in Kindle,2009: 203).
“ The style of read-aloud interection is significant to vocabulary growth ( Dickinson & Smith, 1994; Gren Brabham & Lynch-Brown,2002) with reading styles that encourage child participation out-performing verbatim readings. Simply put “the way boks are shared with children matters” ( McGee & Schickedanz,2007,p. 742)” “High-quality read-alouds are characterized by adult mediation. Effective teachers weave in questions and comments as they read,creating a conversation between the children,the text,and the teacher.
To facilitate word learning,teachers employ a variety of strategies such as elaboration of student responses,naming,questioning, and labeling (Roberts cited in Kindle,2009: 203)” Analysis of the literature on gaining vocabulary via read alouds comes to two conclusions. Primary,adult mediation help word acquisition ( Justice 2002,Walsh & Blewitt cited in Kindle,2009, 203 ). It is pointed out that supporting vocabulary learning in the first grades using repeated reading combined with word meaning explanations work ( Biemiller and Boote cited in Kindle,2009: 203).
Second,the connected effectiveness of various forms of mediation persists less clear. Adult explanations are obviously connected to word gaining,however it is not clear which aspects of the explanations are vital elements: the context,a paraphrased sentence,or even the child’s interest in the story (Brett, Rothlein & Hurley cited in Kindle,2009: 203 ). It is probable Active participation in debates is more important than the types of questions posed (Walsh & Blewitt, 2006 cited in Kindle,2009: 203). Read-aloud can be seen as small elements of balanced instruction.
This balance does not base on a prescribed formula,it results from plenty of decisions made by teachers. These instructional decisions affect the balance of direct and incidental instruction. Teachers’ choices of a suitable balance are obvious in their uses of read-alouds, styles of reading, text determination, and in the way vocabulary is improved. (Kindle,2009: 210) The positive effects of read alouds and story telling on literacy improvement and second language learning have been proved many times by different specialists such as Vivas,Elley,Mason and Krashen (Cho & Choi,2008: 69).
Furthermore,there is consistent evidence that reading outside the classroom is very beneficial both first and secon language acquisition( Krashen cited in Cho & Choi). VI. CONCLUSION Reading aloud can be mostly seen as an old fashioned,boring reading around the class. It is seen as part of outdated methodologies,however this does not indicate that it is no longer beneficial and useful in language learning. If reading aloud is used sensitively and appropriately,the objections can be eliminated. It is the mission of the teachers and students to decide how best to use reading aloud.
If reading aloud is to be used successfully,it requires to be sparingly,sensitively,with obvious learning purposes and it should not be forgotten that reading aloud is only one of the many tools in a teacher’s kit. References Amer,Aly A. (1997). The Effect of The Teacher’s Reading Aloud on the Reading Comprehension of EFL Students. ELT Journal. 51/1: 43-47 Cho,Kyong Sook and Choi Dong Seop(2008). Are Read-Aloud and Free Reading “Natural Partners”?. Knowledge Quest. 36/5: 69-73 Gibson,Sally. (2008). Reading Aloud: A Useful Learnig Tool?. ELT Journal. 62/1: 29-37 Kindle,Karen J.
(2009). Vocabulary Development During Read-Alouds: Primary Practices. The Reading Teacher. 63/3: 202-211. Santoro,Lana Edwards. Chard,J. David. Howard,Lisa. Baker,Scott K. (2008). Making Very Most of Classroom Read-Alouds to Promote Comprehension and Vocabulary. The Reading Teacher. 61/5: 396-408. Terblanche,Leezil(2002) Read-Alouds: Do They Enhance Students’ Ability to Read?. TESOL Journal. 14p. Willis,Judy(2008). Teaching the Brain to Read : Strategies for Improving Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development