10 Read Out Loud Tips for More Enjoyment

. at . 9 comments

1145735_reading_books_at_homeMy recently graduated-from-college daughter moved back home for a while. We have been reading out loud to each other, something we used to do when she and her brother were children. The books we are currently reading out loud are more complicated than the children’s books we read out loud then.

I’ve rediscovered that reading out loud is not the same thing as reading to myself. Just because I’m a fluent silent reader, doesn’t mean I am a fluid out loud reader. Reading out loud takes different skills than silent reading. Here are 10 tips to make reading out loud for adults more enjoyable.

 1. Chapter length.  Reading out loud takes longer than silent reading. No matter what book I read, I must finish a chapter at one sitting. When deciding which book to read,  preview the chapter lengths to see if they are doable in one sitting.

2. Consistency. Read every day or two so that you don’t lose the momentum or gist of the story. If you do miss several days in a row, talk about what has happened so far.

3. Contract. Make a contract to not read ahead. My husband and I decided to read the Chronicles of Narnia together. After about a week he got so caught up in the story that he read ahead and finished the book when I wasn’t home. Even though he said he’d reread (out loud) the story from where we left off, the fun of doing this together was ruined for me.

4. Dialogue. Lots of dialogue is hard to portray unless you have a dramatic flair. If being dramatic, it’s helpful that the reader remember which voice goes to which character.

5. Enunciate. Take the time to speak clearly. Don’t read the words in a rushed, garbled, or low-toned voice.

6. Expression. Even if you don’t have a dramatic bent, read the story with expression. Monotone reading brings out the bleary-eyed look and shuts down interest and comprehension.

7. Foreign phrases, names and places. If the book has lots of names of people, places and/or phrases in a language that you are not fluent in, skip it as a read aloud. If it is a book that is a must read, then consider having only one reader.  That way the pronunciations will always be the same and not be so confusing.

8. Mix it up. Do this to keep interest high. There are 3 ways to do this. 1. Take turns reading aloud. 2. Take turns picking which book to read. I love it when it’s my turn to pick. I think about my choice for days. 3. Vary the genre. Mix up the fiction with the non-fiction books. Go from silly to serious. Sometimes read a child’s book and other times read one that’s genius level.

9. Politeness. Don’t laugh at or correct the pronunciation of the reader. This is not a school assignment but something to be enjoyed together.

10. Stop. Sometimes the book you pick is not a good read aloud book. It’s OK to stop. There are plenty of suitable read aloud books available.

Below are links for read aloud tips for children. Adults would benefit too.

Your Turn  . . .  Do you read out loud? What are your best read out loud tips?

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. freelanceallison  |  . at .

    I LOVE reading out loud with my friends when we are all sharing the same book. Sometimes we’ll set up our -out loud sessions – like a reading group and pick a passage, chapter, etc to read out loud and review it. We even recently did an entire book out loud – we chose Coraline which is a children’s book – and we each read outloud alternating chapters and voices. It’s a great way to really get a chance to visual the book and the characters through the voices of the reader.


  • 2. Michelle Mitchell  |  . at .

    Thanks so much for the mention! I love your suggestions.


  • 3. lynette  |  . at .

    i enjoy reading very young picture books to kids, but reading a chapter book outloud to someone or with someone not so much. i rather tell a story.


  • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

    Allison – I never heard of adults doing this. What a cool circle of friends you have. That would be so fun to be part of your book club’s outloud sessions. Maybe when I’m done with school, August, I can participate in such a group.

    MIchelle – you are welcome. 🙂

    Lynette – I like reading picture books too. The artwoird is so much fun. Have you ever written and illustrated one of your stories?


  • 5. Elizabeth Symington  |  . at .

    I’m going to read Coraline this week! The movie was stunning and I hear the book is too.

    I agree that it’s ok to let so-so books not be finished. Marie Antoinette the novel is much better as a solo reader. I still dont like the characters, but I really want to finished the book.

    Thanks for sharing your tips!


  • 6. freelanceallison  |  . at .

    Elizabeth – I just finished reading Coraline – it was a great great book! The author does a remarkable job with the details of the story – you clearly get such a great picture of the scenes and characters – you will hopefully enjoy this book: I thought it was great. I would be hesitant about reading it to younger children though – it is a little scary and the details/descriptions are very vivid and can be frightening (I thought at least) for much smaller children. Great overall – I hope you like it! I can’t wait to see the movie now!!


  • […] urge you to practice reading aloud every day. For non-native English speakers, this will help fine-tune your pronunciation and […]


  • […] Good works. Do a good deed for someone. Ideas include the following: vacuum, do some gardening, run an errand, babysit, wash the car, read a book out loud. […]


  • 9. John Barach-Sr  |  . at .

    When reading in public, keep your speed at 150 words per minute. Watch your punctuation. Usually make a slight pause after commas and semi-colons and a longer pause after periods and question marks. Never pause after a preposition–join the preposition to its object. Watch for parallel links and series of words–pause after each item of a series. Practice reading the text before doing it in public. Try recording it and evaluating yourself. Are you making the text understandable.



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