The Important Evolution of Oral to Silent Reading

Category: Learning to Read

Learning to read is one of the important early aspects of schooling. Learning to read also makes the difference between literacy and illiteracy.

Learning to read fluently is the result of the satisfactory evolution from oral reading to silent reading, a practice which is almost virtually ignored after the third grade.

Knowing the differences between oral and silent reading is vital to an individual's educational lifetime:

  1. Oral reading provides the thought from the printed page, while silent readers absorb the thought from the text.
  2. Oral reading actually follows an instant recognition of a thought, while silent readers immediately get the thought.
  3. Oral reading is a complex process, involving mental interpretations based on eye sweeps of the text accompanied by vocalization, while silent readers simply interpret the material through a series of eye sweeps (without delays resulting from vocalization).
  4. With oral readers, the pronunciation of the words is most important; with silent readers, the meanings of the words are most important.
  5. Vocalization reduces (and limits) the speed of oral readers, a problem that doesn't affect silent readers.
  6. By now, it should be evident that reading rates of silent readers are likely to be considerably faster and varied (according to individual differences), while reading rates of oral readers are likely to be considerably slower, with little variation.

Some of the adverse problems experienced by oral readers include vocalization (reading aloud or with lip movements); excessive eye fixations (reading one word at a glance instead of whole phrases or "thought units"); distortion of the author's intent (usually a matter of reading so slowly that inattention distracts the reader from the text); and failure to grasp meanings of unfamiliar words (rather than achieving an understanding of an entire thought unit).

Benefits of effective silent reading include steady improvement of educational efficiency; exploration of a wide variety of reading material; learning how to read with purpose; and confidence in dealing with all forms of reading, whether for school, business or leisure.

The successful evolution of oral reading to silent reading includes learning to give proper attention to different kinds of reading material; determining the most important ideas of reading text; grasping main ideas (thought units) with minimum eye fixations; tying together closely related ideas in the text; achieving comprehension of the text without difficult; and subconsciously determining what might be best for recollection later.

In other words, oral reading is vital in the beginning, while silent reading is beneficial for a lifetime.

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reading, silent, readers, learning, vocalization, words, silent reading, recognition

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