Reading out loud

Reading out loud has long been touted as a staple in child education, whether it’s reading passages of a book out loud in the classroom, or reading a bedtime story at home.

Benefits for child development include improved memory, stronger focus, increased confidence, and more fluent speech – also making it a particularly effective activity for effective language study.

THE BENEFITS OF READING OUT LOUD

 Digest and retain information 

In 2015, the University of Montreal (Canada) conducted a study that showed that people were able to digest and retain information more easily when it was read out loud to them, compared to if they simply read the information in their heads. To add to this, another study in 2017 by the University of Waterloo  (Canada) concluded that information recall was even greater when subjects read out loud themselves, as opposed to having someone else read to them. This is greatly thanks to the additional motor act (from speaking), on top of the auditory input.

These findings point to a major benefit of reading aloud with children: increased retention of information. In other words, reading to your children, or even better still, encouraging them to read to you, boosts their memory and helps them remember content faster, and for a longer time.

 Build confidence and fluency 

This is especially useful when trying to teach your child a new language, or raising a bilingual child. Reading out loud not only allows your child to get a better ‘feel’ of the language on their tongue, but also helps them to retain new vocabulary, expressions and stories longer. Furthermore, the increased practice of speaking out loud and hearing themselves speak will build their confidence in expressing themselves, and help make their speech become more fluent and eloquent in the long run.

 Better communication skills 

In fact, in Minnesota, USA, the association ‘Reading Education Assistance Dogs’ (R.E.A.D.) connects children with volunteer therapy dogs, who act as reading companions! Children are able to read to the specially trained dogs, helping them improve their reading and communication skills with a judgement-free, attentive and patient listener. This scheme has proven to be a great success: aside from strengthening their reading skills, participating children have been said to have made huge progress in confidence, self-esteem and social skills.

A similar program has also been introduced to Finland since 2011.

READING OUT LOUD with the SAGE FORMULA

You can easily start reading out loud with your child using your Sage Formula sets.

  1. If they cannot read yet, your child can start by listening to the recordings (available as CDs/MP3/Read-Along App) while following along with the books.
  2. Once they are able to memorise and read the characters, encourage your child to start reading a couple chapters of the books out loud to you. Start with maybe one or two chapters, and move upwards from there to strengthen your child’s reading endurance.
    The very gradual increase in complexity of the characters and sentences ensures that your child will never feel too out of their depths, which is paramount in building their confidence.
  3. Once your child is comfortable with reading a level of Basic Chinese 500 books, consider first practicing reading the associated Treasure Box books out loud, before moving on to the next level.
    This way, your child will work up from reading more basic sentences to more complex one with a structured narrative, all without being overwhelmed by too many new characters.
  4. A fun activity you could do with your child is to let them write and illustrate their own stories, then have them read them to you out loud. They’ll not only have a lot of fun imagining and creating their own worlds, but will also develop reading, creative and artistic skills in the process. For more ideas and suggestions on these reading activities, please refer to our library of Learning Journal. To get you started on helping your child to craft their own story and read it back to you, please refer to this activity post.

References

Alexis Lafleur, Victor J. Boucher, The ecology of self-monitoring effects on memory of verbal productions: Does speaking to someone make a difference?, Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 36, November 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.06.015.

Eirini Zormpa, Laurel E. Brehm, Renske S. Hoedemaker, Antje S. Meyer. (2019) The production effect and the generation effect improve memory in picture naming. Memory 27:3, pages 340-352.

R.E.A.D.: http://www.readdogsmn.org/#


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