Why You Should Listen to Your Child Read Aloud - Kumon

Why You Should Listen to Your Child Read Aloud

A young girl reads a book to her mother

It happens in every classroom. A student raises their hand, asking for help answering a question about the passage they just read. “Read it out loud to me,” the teacher responds. The student reads a couple sentences and suddenly pauses. “I got it!” they exclaim.

Oral reading has many benefits. When reading aloud, students can’t breeze through a sentence, skimming words. They must pay close attention to every word on the page. This leads to a better understanding of what they are reading. Studies have also shown that reading aloud makes it easier to remember words than if you read them silently. This is key for young readers who are building their vocabulary. Oral reading also helps students build their reading speed, allowing them to read larger texts with ease.

Reading aloud has another big advantage—it’s a great tool for evaluating a child’s reading ability. Listening to your child read aloud can help you determine how well they are reading and where they may need to improve. Here are three key areas to help you measure your child’s reading ability through oral reading.

View from above a young boy as he points to a line in a book he is reading

Accuracy

When testing accuracy, check that your child doesn’t miss any words or pronounce them incorrectly. Encourage them to point to each word as they read, so they don’t skip any. Multiple missed or mispronounced words could indicate that the book or passage is too advanced for your child.

Phrasing

Is your child emphasizing the right words? What about pausing in the right spots? Proper phrasing can show whether a child actually understands what they are reading. For example, students should pause at periods and raise their voice at the end of a question. If they don’t use proper phrasing, it could mean they don’t understand the meaning of the words they are speaking. New readers may not be able to read with much expression, but they should still know to pause between words and sentences.

Speed

Students should read at a pace that is easily understandable. Reading very slowly or stumbling over words can indicate that the passage is too advanced for the child. At the same time, reading too quickly can impact both phrasing and accuracy, and might show that the child doesn’t really understand what they’re reading.

It All Adds up to Fluency

When students read aloud with strong accuracy, phrasing, and speed, they are considered to be reading fluently. All three are strong indicators that they are comfortable with the content they’re reading.  When we don’t realize that a story is too difficult, children can get frustrated. Reading at the right level, when students are comfortable or slightly challenged, is the key to avoiding that frustration while encouraging a love of reading.

A boy does his Kumon reading worksheets at the center

For these reasons, students are expected to read aloud throughout the entire Kumon Reading Program. In fact, oral reading is required in the first nine levels of the program. In higher levels, students are encouraged to read aloud as a technique for solving problems.

Oral reading ability is a key component in a Kumon Instructor’s evaluation of a student’s readiness to move on to the next concept or level in the program. It can also help you, as a parent, decide what books your child should read at home. Why not ask your child to read you a few pages of their favorite book tonight? You might be surprised by what you learn!

Discover more reading tips from Kumon.