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More teachers reading out loud to teens

More teachers reading out loud to teens

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Renee Salisbury loves to read exciting or gripping stories to teenagers in the classroom, then stop in the best part.

"They'll say ‘Don't stop, don't stop!" she says.

Salisbury is the secondary literacy specialist for the Jordan School District and says it's important for struggling and non-struggling readers alike in high school to hear a fluent reader read out loud. That way they learn inflections and expression.

"They hear this pattern. They will continue to hear the teacher's voice, inflections and expressions in their head as they read silently to themselves," she says.

All this will increase teenagers' reading comprehension. Salisbury says if they don't comprehend, they don't understand.

"Teens are just kids in a big body. They love being read to."

"(Studies indicate that) the level of fluency affects their comprehension. So if a student is reading word by word with no inflection or anything like that, they aren't making meaning," she says.

Salisbury recently conducted a survey of some high school teachers in her district, and almost all of them say they read out loud in their classrooms. They read everything from novels, plays and poems in English class, to historical documents in history class. One teacher says she does it because "Teens are just kids in a big body. They love being read to."

Salisbury says reading out loud to teens also helps those who are not struggling with reading because many students who are very good readers hate reading.

"They do it because they have to," she says. "When you read out loud to them, they can catch your passion too. And you'll introduce them to a book that they may never have picked up, especially if you stop at the best part."


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Mary Richards


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