Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Oral Reading

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

Topic: Oral Reading.

Title: “Adolescent Reading: A Field of Dreams?” Teri S. Lescsne. Classroom Notes Plus (April 2008), pp. 7-9. A Publication of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Summary: While reading this article, I came across an idea that might be worth a try: “Take a few moments at the beginning of class during the week and ask students to give a 30-second reading of a passage they found interesting, astonishing, etc.” from a book they are reading.

Comment: Might be a good time to suggest to students that they take just a few minutes to prepare for their oral reading—by practicing reading the passage to themselves silently. Oral reading is an important skill and while some people are gifted at spontaneous oral reading, most are not. Practicing for oral reading does not require much time but can help to create a successful presentation. I think oral reading is a forgotten skill in today’s English classes.

Remember the days of “round-robin reading”? Teachers took up valuable class time by going around the room having each student read spontaneously a portion of a chapter. The results were often deadly. Poor oral readers who could not read fluently bored the rest of the class. The listeners suffered along with the stumbling reader who also experienced terrible embarrassment.

The solution to poor oral reading is practice before performing. Practice for oral reading needs to become a habit.

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