The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Adult Students

Posted by on May 10th, 2016

Good literacy programs incorporate reading aloud as part of the instructional process. Although some may think reading aloud is juvenile, the read aloud process should not be absent from adult literacy programs. Reading aloud produces many benefits for learners. Read-alouds help students improve comprehension, vocabulary and information processing skills. These benefits can be achieved in adult education classes through a read-aloud novel study.


Benefits of Reading Aloud

Reading aloud will provide numerous benefits for learners. Here are some noted benefits of reading aloud:

1. Reading aloud creates a classroom community. It establishes a baseline text that can be used to build on critical thinking and other reading and non-reading related skills.

2. Students who do not read well can still comprehend more complex texts. Listening levels may be higher than a student’s actual reading level.

3. Vocabulary acquisition is enhanced.

4. Hearing fluent reading helps develop fluency. Students hear fluency and expression modeled for them. They are able to derive meaning embedded in the text as a result.

5. Discussions created during read-aloud can help students connect ideas and experiences across texts. The discussions can also promote use of prior knowledge, questioning of unfamiliar words and construction of meaning.


Novel Study

Contrary to what some may believe, reading aloud can be effective in the adult classroom. One way to make reading aloud a part of the learning process is by incorporating a read-aloud novel. Begin by selecting a novel that would be interesting for adult learners, or even a classic that they may have missed during their educational journey. After selecting a novel for study, create lessons around various literary concepts. A few ideas for incorporating read aloud studies are:


As the reader is going through the text he or she is sharing their thoughts on what they are reading. The thoughts can be related to predictions, draw on background knowledge, recognize when they are confused by a text and more.


Think & Discuss

During the story, stop periodically to discuss what is happening in the story. Allow students to make predictions and talk about themes as they emerge.


Character Study

Provide an opportunity for students to engage in character studies. What traits and qualities are easily identifiable? Do any remind them of themselves or someone they know?


Story Mapping

Create a story map containing various elements of the story: characters, settings, main ideas, problems, and resolutions. Refer to the map frequently throughout the completion of the story. How have things changed as the story unfolds? What things can be added?


Conflict/Resolution Identification

Have students listen to identify conflicts within the novel. As they continue to listen, take note of how the conflicts are resolved. Are the conflict/resolution patterns predictable?


Reading aloud can be a strong tool to enhance reading comprehension, even for adults. With well-planned activities, reading aloud becomes a vital part of adult education programs. In addition to novel studies, reading aloud can occur in an inter-disciplinary environment and still produce similar success. Reading textbooks and materials for other subjects aloud not only exposes students to the content for that subject but serves a dual purpose of allowing them to reap the benefits of read-alouds.


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