Is Oral Reading Important in Correcting Reading Failure?
Oral reading helps students become more fluent readers. Not only do instruction and practice in oral reading help students in the many situations in which they must read aloud, but oral reading also helps students learn to understand and interpret the texts that they are reading. Fluent oral reading does not mean fast reading; instead, a fluent oral reader can read clearly, audibly, and expressively, pausing meaningfully without hesitating at awkward moments. Skilled oral readers vary the volume, rate, and pitch of speech to convey a text’s meaning. Oral reading helps students understand the literal and emotional meaning of the words they are reading while conveying meaning to listeners. In the Reading Orienteering Club, students practiced oral reading, receiving instruction and coaching to help them develop their oral reading skills. They then read their texts aloud during skits and puppet plays for an audience of parents, friends, and relatives. Since they enjoyed giving these performances, they developed intrinsic motivation to practice so that they could read aloud in a clear, effective, and expressive manner.
KeywordsReading Prosody Oral interpretation Expressiveness Fluency
William D. Harpine earned his Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is Distinguished Professor of Communication Emeritus at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
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