“Reading is good for you!” I hear you say, “How could it possibly be dangerous!?” Well there are 2 main dangers I see:

  1. Reading silently results in poorer comprehension even for mature readers (see reference below).
  2. Practicing a skill incorrectly means you will get better at doing the task incorrectly therefore systemic decoding errors are reinforced while reading silently and that is certainly not the foundation we want to lay for our early readers!

I have noticed an increasing trend towards encouraging “silent reading” even in the very early stages of literacy development. I was recently in a meeting regarding a student in grade 1 and the teacher reported he was having behaviour problems during their daily silent reading session. It highlighted to me that many teachers, speech pathologists and parents aren’t aware of the danger associated with silent reading particularly for young children. The other dedicated and experienced health and education professionals within that meeting weren’t aware that reading aloud enhances comprehension and is vital in laying solid foundations for future literacy success.

A study by Hale et. al. (2007) identified that reading comprehension for readers of a variety of ages was enhanced when they read aloud. Here’s a link to the article if you are interested in reading more:

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ800965.pdf

So, the take away message is that encouraging our children to read aloud more often and even as they become more independent readers may help to enhance their comprehension. Go forth and READ ALOUD everyone!