Girls aloud

Schools made a serious error when we stopped providing opportunities for children to read aloud. Reading a well-written text out loud is a great way to internalise the rhythms and patterns of interesting and well-crafted sentences.

The words go in through the eyes, circulate round the brain, and come out of the mouth - hopefully producing an auditory echo.

I'm not suggesting a return to the practice of reading round the class (this was practically torture for poor readers). But what about reviving "paired reading", very popular in the 1980s, then forgotten as the years went by?

Paired reading is excellent for keeping a class occupied while you're busy with a group. Pairs of children share a book or other chosen text at an appropriate level - they can read alternate pages, paragraphs, or - for novice readers - sentences. It provides essential practice of reading tailored to each child's ability, while simultaneously filling their heads and ears with patterns to imitate and use next time they write a story in class or at home

Sue Palmer is a literacy consultant

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