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The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Students

Listening is critical for developing readers.

Listening is “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading,” according to the 1985 landmark report, “Becoming a Nation of Readers.”1 Teachers commonly do read aloud to elementary school students, but it’s less common for teachers to regularly read aloud to older students. However, a recent study suggests that reading out loud is a valuable tool that can positively impact middle school students’ reading ability.2 Here are five ways that reading aloud can benefit students in any grade.

  1. Reading to children improves comprehension.
    Students can understand material above their reading level when their only task is to listen. When they don’t have to be concerned about things like taking turns reading or pronouncing tricky words, their comprehension improves.2
  2. Listening to books builds vocabulary.
    Listening allows students to hear new words in context, which improves their vocabulary and ultimately strengthens their communication skills.
  3. Reading aloud reduces stress.
    According to Psychology Today, listening to audio books reduces stress and improves mood.3 Listening to stories, poems, and books read aloud creates the same positive effects in kids.
  4. It helps strengthen community in the classroom.
    When students are listening to literature together, they are sharing a story. Teacher Kasey Short reads aloud for five minutes at the end of each class and writes for Edutopia, “I look for books that represent diversity in a way that counters stereotypes and provides opportunities for students to develop compassion and understanding for others.”4
  5. Reading aloud can help students succeed in life.
    Studies show that proficient readers are more likely to be successful in school and life.5 By reading aloud to students and injecting emotion and nuance into text, you’re sharing the joy of reading with your students, which can in turn influence them to become successful, lifelong readers.

Whether you use your skills as a teacher to bring the Declaration of Independence to life, to share Shakespeare with your literature students, or to create community by reading a contemporary novel, reading aloud to students offers a bounty of benefits. Try reading out loud to your classroom as part of your teaching strategy.

If you want to become a teacher, Walden University’s online BS in Elementary Education program can prepare you to become a certified teacher who makes a positive difference in the lives of students. Walden’s curriculum allows students to observe experienced elementary school teachers in the classroom and to gain the skills to connect with students, their families, and their community.

You can earn your BS in Elementary Education in Walden’s convenient online format, completing your courses at home or wherever you have internet access. You’ll join a community of educators committed to making a difference. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences at Walden University has more than 65,000 education students and alumni, including more than 180 state teachers of the year.6

Walden University is an accredited online institution offering education degree programs at all levels, from bachelor’s to doctorates, as well as individual courses. Expand your career options and enjoy lifelong learning through a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

6Source: Source: Walden University Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), as of June 2021.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,