Introduction to Reading Aloud
Reading aloud, simply defined, involves the oral sharing of some printed text where the text is in full view of the reader and, in some instances, the audience as well. Without the immediate availability of the printed text, the reader would have a difficult, if not impossible, time remembering it and sharing it effectively with the audience. The type of text is irrelevant; that is, it can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, newsprint, or any other type of printed material. Typically, however, the art of reading aloud is commonly associated with the sharing of fiction with an audience.
The most obvious use of reading aloud is as a means of entertainment. Occasionally actors or other notable people will read stories or poetry in public performances. However, its most frequent uses are in the home, where parents read stories to young children, and in schools or libraries, where professionals share literature with students and young patrons. Aside from its entertainment value, there is much greater benefit to be derived from adults reading to children. An abundance of research over the past 40 years confirms the educational value of the practice (Galda & Cullinan, 1991; McCormick, 1977; Short, 1995, pp. 75–89, 111–116). Children who are read to frequently in the preschool years come to school with a leg up on literacy development. Initially, the benefit of listening to stories read is that it has a profound influence on their oral language development. A child's pho-