Reading Aloud

Doing presentations with the pre-sessional students is difficult online. For an in-person presentation we could check the students’ notes. Online there is a greater temptation for students to read from a script.

One of the other teachers said in a meeting how certain students’ speech deteriorates dramatically when reading. You’d think it was the first time they’d encountered even relatively common vocabulary.

In most cases I don’t know how valuable it is really to read aloud in class. Most of us rarely do it in our L1 unless we have small children. In class it can be a way of checking pronunciation I suppose, but even then I don’t know that reading long or previously unmet texts is of much use.

Anyway, it wasn’t the value of reading aloud that this teacher was talking about, it was the ability, or lack thereof. I suppose it’s partly about chunking. Perhaps it’s also something to do with reading letters, rather than words. If your L1 has a greater letter-sound relationship than English, is it more tempting to try pronouncing individual morphemes (phonetically) rather than looking at words as a whole (sight reading)?

As a child I read ‘ethereal’ pronouncing it with the stress on the third syllable, it was some time before I heard (or perhaps recognised) the word spoken. And still, if unthinking, I tend to have to correct my inner pronunciation in my head when I come across this word in text. Is that connected to what’s happening here?

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