WHAT THIS HANDOUT IS ABOUT
This handout explains some of the benefits of hearing your writing read aloud. It offers tips on reading your draft yourself, asking a friend to read it to you, or having your computer read it.
WHY READ OUT LOUD?
If you come to the Writing Center for a tutoring session, you will probably hear your tutor say, “We always read papers out loud—would you like to read yours, or would you like to hear me read it?” Reading aloud has many benefits that we want to share wit h writers. Most people have far more experience listening to and speaking English than they do reading and editing it on the printed page. When you read your draft out loud or listen to someone else read it, your brain gets the information in a new way, and you may notice things that you didn’t see before: As listeners, we need the order of ideas in a paper to make sense. We can’t flip back and forth from page to page to try to figure out what is going on or find information we need. When you hear your paper read out loud, you may recognize that you need to re-order the information in it or realize that there are gaps in your explanation. Listeners also need transitions to help us get from one main idea to the next. When you hear your paper, you may recognize places where you have moved from one topic to another too abruptly. We all make errors in our sentences. Sometimes we leave out a word, mess things up as we copy and paste text, or make a grammatical mistake. These kinds of errors can be hard to see on the page, but sentences that contain them are very likely to sound wrong. For native speakers of English (and some non-native speakers, too), reading out loud is one of the most powerful proofreading techniques around. Sometimes sentences aren’t grammatically incorrect, but they are still awkward in some way—too long, too convoluted, too repetitive. Problems like these are often easily heard. Hearing your paper can also help you get a sense of whether the tone is right. Does it sound too formal? Too chatty or casual? What kind of impression will your voice in this paper make on a reader? Sometimes hearing your words helps you get a more objective sense of the impression you are creating—listening puts in you in something more like the position your reader will be in as he/she moves through your text.
WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIES FOR READING OUT LOUD?
Reading your paper out loud has a lot of benefits, but it presents a few challenges, too. One issue is that a lot depends on how you read. It is very easy to read too quickly or to let your brain automatically “smooth over” mistakes, fill in missing words, and make little
” “TTS. If you don’t read exactly what is on the printed page.
HOW CAN YOUR COMPUTER HELP?
You don’t necessarily need to recruit a friend to read to you. others may have a free trial version but cost between $10 and $80 for long-term use. One advantage of this approach is that the computer will definitely not cover up any errors for you! You can also control where it starts and stops. user friendly. Here are some strategies to help you read out loud effectively: Try working from a printed copy. do a Google search for “text to speech. or for versions with more features. If you would like to explore others that may be available now or created in the future. This will allow you to make marks at places where something sounds wrong to you so you can return to them later. and potentially effective. Some are free. follow along with your finger. and have it re-read the same paragraph as many times as you want. This will allow you to make marks at places where something sounds wrong to you so you can return to them later. There are many text-to-speech programs and services you can try—far more than we can review here. and how natural do they sound?
. Try working from a printed copy.” Some differences to keep in mind as you choose the best reader for you: Voice quality and selection: how many voices can you choose from. As you read. One great strategy to try is to ask a friend to read your paper out loud while you listen. Here are a few free ones that seem to be easily available. rather than on the overall flow of your argument. starting at the end and working back to the beginning. This will help you focus on the structure of each sentence. You don’t have to be in the same room to do this— you could email a copy of your paper to your friend and ask him/her to call you and read to you over the phone. There are a number of text to speech software applications and web-based services that will help you get your computer to read your paper out loud to you. you won’t get an accurate sense of what is in your paper. Try covering up everything but the section or sentence you are working on at the moment so you can concentrate on it and not get lost. Try to read at a moderate pace. As your friend is speaking. consider reading your paper out loud one sentence at a time. speed it up or slow it down. you can jot notes on a printed copy of the paper. Make sure that your friend knows to read exactly what is on the printed page. pointing at each word. Pay close attention to places where your friend seems to stumble or get lost —those may be places where you need to make things clearer for your readers. If you are proofreading.corrections without you ever becoming consciously aware that it’s happening.” or “text reader. This can help you stay focused and not skip anything.
and listen to it on your music player? Does the software highlight each word as it is read (which may be especially helpful for non-native English speakers and students with reading/writing disabilities)? How many pages of text or words can be converted to voice at one? How quickly does the conversion happen? Do you need to copy text and paste it into a new window. There is a free version. the free versions of these applications use electronic voices created by Microsoft. Read Please does not make mp3 or wav files. and hear it read back to you —it highlights each word as it is read.com.” Most of the controls (play. pause. is for Windows operating systems only. it may take some extra work to make it run with Vista. If you decide you would like better voices. In most cases. You can use the free version of Natural Reader 9. voice selection. The applications we’ll list here are fairly easy to download (from the web address provided with each one). Mac.) are visible in the Read Please window where you paste the text. and run.” “Mike.” Read Please: www. install. you may need to purchase an enhanced version of the software and AT&T’s Natural Voices.com. One thing that makes Natural Reader stand out is that Mac
. If you try one and later decide that you want to uninstall it from your Windows computer. go to the Control Panel and choose “Add or Remove Programs. speed. which sound better. or you can purchase the enhanced “Personal” one for $49. which has been around for a while. Natural Reader can convert text from any program.” and “Mary.0. Use the Tools/Options menu to adjust settings..naturalreaders. You can change the speed of the voice that is reading.? Is there a pause button? Can you convert your text file into an mp3 or wav file. etc. or Windows Vista)?
You can download and install software applications that will allow your computer to read to you.g. the enhanced one costs $49. where the reading starts and stops. like whether it begins to read as soon as text is copied or waits for you to hit “play.
Controls: can you determine the speed and pitch of the speaker. paste it into a window. Natural Reader: www. This application. or can you run it without internet access once it has been installed? Does it work with your operating system (e. etc. or can the program work directly within an application (like Word or Powerpoint) and just read the text on your screen? Do you have to install any files on your computer to use the system? If so.50.95. how big are the files? Do you need an active internet connection to use the program.” These voices are acceptable to most readers but are not very natural-sounding. download it.readplease. nicknamed “Sam. Read Please allows you to copy text from a Word document.
iSpeech works for PDF. On this website. including Spanish. so if that’s important to you. allowing you to easily start. choose your settings.com. Yakitome’s controls take a little getting used to. and your uploads are archived with your account. just press “listen.
. When your chosen text has been converted to speech. rtf. and you can’t pause. Vozme vozme. Excel.yakitome. It is stored as private. iSpeech: www. You can’t control the speed at which the voice reads. Click “text” under view if you want to look at your text onscreen while listening.versions of both the free and enhanced software are available. unfortunately. click “personal use” and create a free account. a Word document). You’ll need to feed it relatively small chunks of text. you can open it with a media player. so be sure to close your file first if you want to upload everything. Vozme is a very straightforward site. Yakitome www. It offers a “mini-bar” that looks like the controls on a tape recorder—this can hover over text (say. and control the application. and its pronunciation is occasionally imperfect. Once the conversion is done. so you’ll need to sign into your account to access it. you cannot choose from a variety of voices. this is not a good reader for you. iSpeech does not highlight text as it reads. Natural Reader does allow you to create wav and mp3 files. your text is stored on the site as an mp3 or wav file in the Yakitome Podcast Library and can be downloaded (to listen to it on your computer or mp3 player). Hover your cursor over various controls to see how they work. it may take quite some time for it to be converted (it took 15 minutes for a four-page paper in one of our tests). Experiment with the different voices (the AT&T ones sound more natural than the Microsoft ones). in a male or female voice that isn’t super-natural but isn’t awful.org. or stop and start the voice. Conversion is often fairly quick. if you try it and like it. Vozme also reads in some foreign languages. Paste your text into a window. The iSpeech website offers a demonstration of its text to voice conversion. or start. and paste in your text. Vozme will then create an mp3 and begin to read to you. stop.com. The voice iSpeech uses is fairly natural. and even Powerpoint files. stop. Longer documents seem to linger at the bottom of the work queue. Vozme allows you to install a widget for Facebook or iGoogle so that you can access it easily. unless you set it as public.ispeech. Now you will be able to upload files or paste your text into a box on the iSpeech site. perhaps a couple of paragraphs at a time. If you download the sound file.
Web-based text to speech applications allow you to hear your text read without having to install any software on your computer. Your request will then be put in a work queue. iSpeech may have trouble uploading open files. so it’s best if you have something else to work on while you wait. html. either.” You can download the speech file or podcast it. control the speed at which the voice reads while it is playing. text. You will need an active internet connection to have your text translated into speech—but you may then be able to download a wav or mp3 file and listen to your paper on your mp3 player or computer. click on “Free Text to Speech” to create an account. Word.
Time was in America when attending political meetings and listening to “stump” speeches were highly popular leisure -time activities.
. just as was listening to. sermons. It will strengthen the bonds between him and you. The sponsors and friends of readingaloud. both Republican and Democrat. make our own decisions. Children who are read aloud to by parents get a head start in language and literacy skills and go to school better prepared.
Why Read Aloud? There is an easy way to improve your child's chances at school. We have become a nation of observers and consumers. research has repeatedly proved that one simple parenting technique is among the most effective. learn again how to enjoy friends.I FEEL KIND OF SILLY DOING THIS…
Reading aloud (or listening to your writing being read) takes some getting used to. and critiquing. It's time we take back control of our lives. And it is virtually free. The magical method: taking time to read aloud to your child. we watch “Dancing with the Stars” rather than going ou t to the few dance venues for anyone over the age of 22.
Sound too good to be true? Actually. and begin to enjoy entertaining ourselves and our friends. not on personal participation in political organizations.
In an era of high-stakes testing and education reforms and revolutions.org hope you will consider getting together with friends on an evening of enjoying the sound of each other's voices reading literature. struggle to recruit members. but give it a try. You may be surprised at how much it can speed up your revision process!
This website is dedicated to promotion of a simple concept: grown-ups entertaining each other by reading aloud for fun. We vote in smaller numbers than before and when we vote we make our decision based on slick television adverts. Our interest is in grown-ups (sadly "adult" has taken on an internet meaning that rules out that word from our discussion). State and local political committees. it isn't. There are serveral worthy organizations promoting parents reading aloud to children. It will entertain and delight him. We buy (or illegally download) our music rather than entertaining ourselves.
according to Jim Trelease.
. Between television. Conversely."
Despite this advice.foster a lifelong love of books and reading."
This reading "commercial" is critical when competition for a child's attention is so fierce. According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Trelease succinctly puts it in his handbook. "The Read-Aloud Handbook." "Every time we read to a child.
In other words."Reading aloud to young children. In addition. As Mr.
That can have long-term consequences. and stay in school the longest.
Developing that passion for reading is crucial. achieve the most. according to the landmark 1985 report "Becoming a Nation of Readers. however." "You could even call it a commercial.can further turn children off from reading. only 48 percent of families below the poverty level read to their preschoolers each day. it may also develop his vocabulary."
Reading aloud is. video games and myriad after-school activities. Children from low-income families are also less likely to have exposure to print materials.perhaps most important . Indeed. promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent. improve his ability to learn to read. compared with 64 percent of families whose incomes were at or above the poverty level. the Internet. cannot get better at it. some educators and many parents don't read aloud to children from a young age and thus fail to nurture avid and skilled readers. we're sending a 'pleasure' message to the child's brain.whether frustrations in learning to read or tedious "skill and drill" school assignments . the pleasures of sitting down with a book are often overlooked. reading that bedtime story may not only entertain and soothe Johnny. particularly in an engaging manner. conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure. negative experiences with reading . and . those who don't read much." "the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading. movies." concludes a review in this month's Archives of Disease in Childhood." he writes in the "Handbook. read the best. "Students who read the most. this is especially true for children in low-income families. author of the best-seller.
The percentage of young children read aloud to daily by a family member is one indicator of how well young children are prepared for school." its Web site reports. including interactions between young children and their families and the ways by which parents raise. And ROR has been remarkably successful: "Studies which examined language in young children found an association between the ROR intervention and statistically significant improvements in preschool language scores. but Too Many Children Neglected Reading aloud to children is vital because it helps them acquire the information and skills they need in life: Knowledge of printed letters and words.Groups such as Reach Out and Read (ROR). nurture. How books work. Reading to young children promotes language acquisition and literacy development and. The meaning of words.and your willingness to spend a little quality time with your child. and between one-half and three-quarters were sung to daily. And while the sacrifices to read aloud are few. The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. recent studies on family reading suggest too many youngsters go without the benefit of a family member reading to them. however.
The good news for families is that this sage piece of parenting wisdom is easy to follow. and prepare their children for school. The group also helps provide reading materials for families of lesser means. and a variety of writing styles. and the relationship between sound and print.free. Yet. between one-third and one-half of these children were read to daily by a family member. are some more immediate: The pleasures of spending time with your child and sharing the enjoyment of a good book. achievement in reading comprehension and overall success in school. then as toddlers (at about 2 years old). with a library card . Data were collected on the children as infants (at about 9 months old). the benefits are many: Your child may learn to read better.
. In addition. The difference between written language and everyday conversation. and become a passionate and lifelong reader. At each age. a good predictor of later literacy success. Reading aloud to your child requires only a book . later on. and again as preschoolers (at about 4 years old).
Facts About Reading Aloud
Reading Aloud Important. approximately one-fourth of children at each of these ages were told stories daily. The world in which they live. The pleasure of reading. think better. More than these long-term benefits. are working to combat this problem. imagine more richly. however. Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) collected information on children who were born in 2001 and focused on several aspects of early childhood development. The Bostonbased non-profit extols the virtues of reading aloud to parents when children go to their check-ups at the pediatrician's or family physician's office.
Department of Education. told stories. or sung to daily. told stories. Overall. a higher percentage of White children had family members who read to them daily than did children of other races/ethnicities.
. or sung to daily by a family member than children at or above poverty. Source: U. Forty-one percent of White. 23 percent of African American. In general. A higher percentage of Asian children were read to than Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native children at all ages.
In general. levels of maternal education were positively related to the percentage of children who were read to. 26 percent of Asian. 21 percent of Hispanic. and 18 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native 9-month-olds had family members who read to them daily. or sung to daily than children whose families spoke primarily English in the home. at all ages. a smaller percentage of children in poverty were read to.S. A smaller percentage of children whose families spoke a language other than English in the home were read to. told stories. and than African American children at ages 2 and 4 (with rates not measurably different at 9 months of age).