In this lesson, you will learn how to improve your speaking skills by reading aloud in English. Watch the lesson video below for my best tips and advice on following the reading aloud method:
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Lesson Introduction on Improving Your Speaking Skills
I’m making this lesson today because the reading aloud method to improve your speaking works very well, but students don’t know about it or don’t try it out. An additional benefit of using the reading aloud method is that it helps to develop your voice. I discovered these benefits firsthand, by reading aloud stories and poems.
Reading Aloud Makes Speaking English Get Easier
The reading aloud method is ideal for students whose speaking skills are weak. You may be able to read and write with confidence, but when it comes to speaking, you’re nervous. You might be shy or even blocked when attempting to speak English, meaning that you struggle to get the words out. Feeling inhibited speaking English even when nobody is listening is a strong sign that your speaking skills are blocked.
If you encounter any of the above problems when speaking English, then I strongly recommend that you try the reading aloud method to improve your speaking skills. The more you do it, the easier it will get. And most importantly, it will help you overcome that blocked feeling you get when attempting to speak English.
Benefits of Reading Aloud
- Reading aloud is an active method in which two actions are happening simultaneously. The words are taken in mentally (absorbed), and at the same moment, they come out actively in your speech.
- There should be no pressure when reading aloud. It should be stress-free because it’s just you and your book. Be careful not to be too much of a perfectionist with this method. Criticising yourself whenever you make a mistake will create stress, which is the wrong attitude to have. Your goal when following the reading aloud method should be to simply say the words aloud. You should not aim to say every word perfectly.
- Reading aloud gives you hours and hours of English speaking practice. Building up your English speaking skills is similar to a musician learning to play a musical instrument: it takes hundreds of practice hours before you’re confident enough to perform on stage. To reach a competent and confident level of English speaking skills, you must practise regularly. When it’s you and your book, it’s much easier to get all those hours of practice in. (And that’s especially true for introverts).
You’re Not Reading Aloud Enough: Here’s the Reason Why…
The reading aloud method isn’t widely used by students of English. The reason for this is often because students don’t know what to read in English.
A lot of books you’re going to find out there will be too difficult and therefore demotivating for you. Not all books are suitable for reading aloud practice because they might have long chapters or dense vocabulary.
Another issue is that many famous books, such as the Harry Potter series, can be a little babyish. As an adult, you’re probably not drawn to reading that kind of material.
Books to Read to Improve English Speaking
For the reading aloud method to be effective for you, it’s important to find reading material that is suitable for your level. Consequently, I’m recommending a book called Short Stories in English by Olly Richards. It is the perfect starting point for intermediate and upper-intermediate students of English who are interested in improving their English speaking skills by following the reading aloud method.
The book is intended for improving your reading skills in general (by reading in your head). However, I’m taking the method a step further because it’s also really great practice material for reading aloud. This book is made for ESL (English as a Second Language) students and consists of short stories and exercises for learning English via reading.
The stories in the book are very visual, which allows you to follow the action in your mind. This is really helpful for knowing what’s going on. They also include lots of dialogue, which gives you a chance to speak aloud and perform as different characters. This makes the reading aloud process more interesting.
Another bonus is that because this book is made for developing your English, the target vocabulary – the most important words that you should know – is defined at the end of each chapter. Additionally, to help with your general understanding, every chapter has a summary at the end. There are also quizzes to test your understanding to ensure you catch everything in the story and have been following it properly. You get a sense of achievement as you work through the chapters in this book. Every time you finish a short story, you say to yourself, “Yes! I’ve finished another one!”
If your English speaking skills are weaker than your other skills, then you should definitely give the reading aloud method a try. Remember to have the right attitude when reading aloud, which means being as relaxed as possible. Your only focus during the reading aloud process should be on getting to the end of each chapter. The more you can do that, the stronger your English speaking skills will become.
Practice makes perfect, but also, perfection can never be achieved.”Jade Joddle on the right attitude to have towards one’s daily speaking practice.
Extend Your Learning
▶︎ Listen to my readings of poetry and short stories.
▶︎ Watch my video on ‘How to read aloud without being boring’.
▶︎ Shy or blocked speakers of English should watch my lesson on ‘I feel uncomfortable speaking English‘.
▶︎ For language-learning tips and advice, visit Olly Richard’s website: https://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/blog
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