INSTALLMENT 1 OF A 6-PART SERIES
This series features some simple hacks that can help supercharge anything you’re learning; anything you want to internalize; anything you want to become more competent at, no matter the topic.
If you do the things suggested in this series…
* You will learn faster
* You will comprehend difficult, new concepts more quickly
* You will blast through obstacles in life more swiftly and easily
The concept here is based upon a well-known phenomenon. Each time a teacher teaches their material, they learn it themselves at a deeper level. The more anyone engages in the process of disseminating information that is interesting and useful to others, the more the nuanced finer points of that subject matter become ingrained within the person who does it.
The practices that are promoted in this six-part series involve things you know how to do. Because no technical difficulty is involved and the actions are easy to incorporate, you can begin to notice and enjoy the three above-listed benefits in no time.
The activity highlighted in this installment…
READING OUT LOUD
Whether you are taking in fiction or non-fiction, a magazine or a textbook, the benefits of reading out loud are several. Let’s consider a few.
Becoming a Better Reader. We don’t need a researcher to tell us that the more we read, the better we’ll get at reading. That’s true of just about every activity that requires any amount of skill. But there is something special about the act of reading out loud. Back in 1985, the National Institute of Education issued a landmark report titled “Becoming a Nation of Readers.” According to the report, reading out loud is “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.”
Not a good reader? Read more… and do so out loud.
Full Body Stimulation! In reading out loud, you are engaging your brain and your other senses more thoroughly than when you read silently.
- Your eyes are more active when you read out loud. They take care that you take in every word. Contrast that with silent reading. Have you ever caught yourself skimming, making quick determinations that you get the “gist” of what the author is saying? Cut that out. That’s not actually reading! When reading out loud and your eyes move to the next word and series of words, it is to allow you to begin working on the correct pronunciation, enunciation, and so on
- Your mind is now more engaged. When reading out loud, not only are you more carefully considering how the text should sound to a listener. You are a listener because you are now taking in the words by way of your ears as well as your eyes
- Your body resonates with every word. Okay, I know how hokey that might… sound. However, consider that the sound of your voice is a vibration. Now consider that the vibration of your voice is coming from you! If you aren’t sure about this, go ahead and hum a single fairly low note for about five seconds. You should be able to feel that vibration in at least the upper third of your body and especially in your head; in your jaws and especially in your throat. Your entire body feels it. This is a very good thing, especially if what you happen to be reading is positive and uplifting in some way. The idea that every cell in your body could be responding to your voice is kind of a big deal*
You are developing a skill! [Actually, a valuable skill set] Reading out loud is a fantastic way to help you develop the skill of swiftly processing and understanding the “voice” and tone in which you perceive the material should be spoken. [For example, a computer science textbook shouldn’t sound like a This means you are tapping some of the creative parts of your brain as you quickly determine how the words you are reading ought to sound out loud. Involving your brain in this kind of immediate oral interpretation is extremely invigorating to the intellect.
- An increased vocabulary. It follows that the more words you’re properly pronouncing, the more those words will find their way into your everyday use
- Quickened mental acuity. Would you like to improve your ability to “think on your feet” and speak extemporaneously without leaving people wondering, “What was that word salad?” Regularly reading out loud is like taking a free course on forming and communicating coherent thoughts clearly and concisely. It might seem counterintuitive that reading the text of someone else’s thoughts can help you get better at forming and advocating for your own ideas, but it works!
- Better conversational skills. The above two benefits lead to becoming a better conversationalist. Too many people have the idea that conversational skills are a “natural phenomenon,” that those who have a tough time with social interactions just have to live with it. If that’s you, cut it out! Becoming more skilled in this area is achievable. If you develop the healthy habit of listening to yourself gradually improve at the skill of reading out loud, it is likely you will soon notice your conversational skills are also getting better
- Increased confidence. As you start to experience the above three benefits don’t be surprised if you notice a very valuable side benefit: you, getting more confident. That confidence may be all the encouragement you will need to continue pursuing growth in these areas. If you are like a lot of people who wish to be able to speak with poise in front of a group or to just “hold your own” in social settings without being awkward or getting nervous, you should seriously consider adopting the practice of reading out loud on a daily basis
Do I need to list the potential benefits of being a better communicator?
Okay, so let’s say the above benefits sound amazing but you don’t consider yourself to be very good at reading. Silent reading is bad enough. Reading out loud is a disaster. And perhaps as a consequence of not being very good at reading, you hate doing it. And as a consequence of hating it, you read as infrequently as possible.
If the above describes you, let’s solve this problem with the reverse engineering of two simple questions. First, do you see the genuine value in increasing your vocabulary, being more articulate, being more at ease in speaking and conversing with others, and enjoying more confidence? Please say your Yes or No answer out loud. Second – and assuming your answer to the first question was Yes – with those benefits in mind, would you agree that the chances are good that you would eventually enjoy reading … if you could read better? Please say your Yes or No answer out loud.
If you again answered Yes, then you know the solution to your dilemma. Commit to reading something, anything, for at least a few minutes every day (or at least three times a week). Then add reading out loud to that new routine, even if it’s just for a couple of laborious minutes at first. Imagining yourself enjoying the above-outlined benefits by creating and frequently replaying mental movies of the new and improved you doing things you couldn’t do before, could be tremendously helpful.
I suppose if you hate to read, you’re probably not reading this blog. Perhaps someone else is reading it to you! If so, go ahead. It’s your turn. Try reading this article out loud. Come on. I dare you.
If you already love to read, start reading out loud. Before too long, you’ll notice the above benefits kicking in. Once that starts to happen, you will be hooked. Your investment of a negligible few minutes of time every day or two could generate some extraordinary returns.
* If you are a believer in the power of self-talk (how we talk to and about our own selves within our own thoughts), consider developing the habit of regularly speaking out loud some of the self-affirming things you have learned to incorporate into the internal “conversations” you have with yourself.
ARTICLES ELSEWHERE – Links to a few other voices [pun not intended] on the above subject matter: