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Perceptions of reading aloud in intermediate and secondary classrooms Grant, Wilma Anne


This study examined the perceptions of reading aloud to students in intermediate and secondary classrooms. It was anticipated that teachers who read aloud and students who are read to would identify a number of positive outcomes of the practice. The key informants, eight British Columbia English or Language Arts teachers of Grades Five to 12, were interviewed using a series of probe questions. The interviews were tape recorded and then written notes were made. The students in the teachers' classes were asked for their thoughts about being read to; 178 written responses were received. The thoughts of the teachers and the students were analysed and discussed. Comparisons were made between the views of the teachers, the students and the professional literature. Similar categories emerged from all three sources. Among the values of reading aloud most mentioned by teachers were pleasure, motivation to read, exposure to books and authors, use as a springboard to instruction, and increased comprehension. Students most frequently mentioned the development of imagination, the quality of the reader's performance, that reading aloud makes text easier to understand, and that listening is calming and relaxing. The most important outcome of reading aloud mentioned by teachers was pleasure and by students was relaxation and calm. The materials chosen to read aloud were almost entirely various forms of literature. The study concluded that reading aloud to older students is perceived to enhance comprehension and develop imagination, provides exposure to books and authors, is a useful link to instructional strategies, plays an important role in classroom management, provides pleasure to readers and listeners, and is enhanced by the oral reading skill of the teacher. It was recommended that teachers read aloud to intermediate and secondary students and that teachers increase their awareness and utilization of the variety of benefits which can result from the practice. There are many recommendations for further related research, such as long-term studies, investigation of teacher and student perceptions of specific areas such as the development of imagination, and the investigation of the value of reading aloud to ESL students.

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