For Teachers - Using Audio in the Classroom
Here are ways that you can use the audio versions of articles from The Change Agent for reading instruction.
Improving Accuracy. Students need to be able to sound out words accurately. Reading along with audio recordings of articles can help them develop this skill, especially with multi-syllabic words, words that they have not encountered before in print, or words that they know but only orally. The teacher should pick an article at a level where the student has trouble with individual words, so that he or she can hear them again and again. Ask the student to keep listening and saying the troublesome words aloud until she or he is ready to perform for you (or the class).
Improving Fluency. Students need to be able to read sentences fluently. Fluent readers know how to chunk out sentences into phrases and clauses, when to pause, which words to emphasize, and where to change voice pitch. Reading along with audio recordings can help them develop this skill. The teacher should pick an article at a level where the student can pronounce most words but reads choppily and with consistently inaccurate emphasis or pitch. Ask the student to read along silently and aloud until she or he is ready to perform for you (or the class).
If the student reads over commas and periods, or stops at the end of printed lines, ask her or him to mark the page with slashes (/) where a short pause is heard or double slashes (//) where a long pause is heard. The teacher could also ask the student to underline words that appear to be emphasized, or places where the voice in the audio goes up or down.
Remember, the more easily a student can read with accuracy and fluency (i.e., with "automaticity") the more mental energy she or he can apply to comprehension.
One final note: Privately reading along with an oral recording allows shyer students to practice without social anxiety.