Why is it so common for teachers to have one student read aloud while others follow along in the book? It’s way too much multitasking for my brain.
I can only listen if I’m not reading. I can only read if I’m not listening. And I can only track where the current reader is on the page if I’m neither reading nor listening to understand – only matching meaningless letters and sounds.
So, how did I handle it? How did conscientious little me remain alert enough to pick up at the right spot when it was my turn, while comprehending anything?
I got very fast at reading. That allowed me to spend most of my time tracking the sounds, because I could occasionally ignore the audio for a few seconds while I quickly read ahead.
When my turn came to read aloud, I would silently read each sentence during the brief pause at the end of the previous sentence. Then, when I spoke the words, I was equipped with enough context to know where the intonation should go.
I didn’t realize what I was doing. I just remember feeling confused about why the other 7-year-olds were reading in a choppy monotone, instead of emphasizing the important words like a storyteller.
It was a coping strategy. It took effort, and still does. But it happens to make me an excellent oral reader.