Reading Out Loud

Do you remember when you listened to stories at your mother’s knee or the first time that special teacher read you something so magical that it has stayed with you since?

I have always loved language. The more complicated and flamboyant the word the better. I particularly like the spoken word which is why I have always liked to read out loud.
I clearly remember Mrs Edington, my O level teacher in high school.

I was in a new class, English my favourite subject, so it was important to me that I got along with my new teacher. So important was English to me, that I wanted to become an English teacher myself. Mrs Edington had just handed out the set books and had asked us to turn to page one of My Family and Other Animals. She took a deep breath and launched into the novel taking on all the voices of the colourful and somewhat eccentric Durrell family. I was utterly transfixed, transported immediately to Corfu and my attention did not wane until the bell cut through my imagination, marking the end of the lesson.

What Mrs Edington did in those two years shaped my entire future and gave me something valuable I could use. For me, she turned the reading experience into a real life visualisation merely by using the power of her voice. When she asked us to read in class we wanted to emulate her and did everything we could to make it interesting for the listener.
In later years when I became an educator of girls at the Dominican Convent in Harare, I was able to use the technique myself and I hope in some small way I enriched the young minds I was privileged to teach.

When my children were young, one of my greatest joys was sitting with them at bedtime and reading some of the classics. My son and I revisited My Family and Other Animals and the Just So Stories, while my daughter and I ventured into 101 Dalmatians and Ballet Shoes. I am happy to say both of my children are avid readers and have a genuine love of literature.

I had a dog once who loved to lay beside me and listen to me reading. Poppie particularly liked it when the story included a dog in some shenanigan or other. My current fluffy companion purrs on nonchalantly. Perhaps the sound of my trying on an Irish accent in Sean O’Faolain’s A Nest of Simple Folk is not quite to Nala, the cat’s liking? In any case it hasn’t given her nightmares and so I shall continue.

According to the website Brainscape “when we read out loud we form auditory links in our memory pathways. We remember saying it out loud.”
Art Markham PhD writes in his blog Psychology Today about the production effect which explains exactly why reading out loud causes us to remember better.
I found this to be most useful when studying as I am an auditory learner.

So what are you waiting for? Read out loud! I highly recommend it.