Reading isn’t just for the eyes. Learn about ear reading and its multitude of benefits, especially for those with dyslexia.
What Is Ear Reading?
When you think of reading, you picture someone scanning words with their eyes and interpreting them into meaning (reading comprehension).
But that isn’t the only way to read.
Reading can involve more than the sense of sight; it can involve hearing as well.
When you follow the text with your eyes and simultaneously listen to the text being read aloud, you are ear reading.
Children have been ear-reading since they were small. Whenever you read aloud a book to a child and he follows along, he is ear reading.
With advancements in technology, ear reading can be more independent.
Audiobooks and text-to-speech technology make it possible for someone to ear read without the help of another person.
This article contains affiliate links to things that you might like.
The Benefits of Ear Reading
Ear reading has many benefits, especially for younger students and those who struggle with reading (like people with dyslexia).
The goal of reading is to comprehend the text. When you struggle to decode the written words, you spend your focus on that step. Reading comprehension takes a back seat.
Ear reading removes much of the struggle of decoding and frees up the brain to process what is being said.
It also allows time and space to practice reading skills such as inferencing.
Younger students and those with dyslexia are usually able to comprehend a text several levels higher than their ability to decode. Why hold them back?
The decoding process can take some people a very long time. This leaves less time to work on other skills (like applying the content from the reading).
It also piles on frustration and makes students want to quit.
Ear reading speeds up the process of decoding and allows struggling readers to tackle a text in much less time.
They are still following the text, but they have an easier time digesting the content.
Reading fluency involves reading sentences with speed, accuracy, and expression.
That does not happen overnight. It is a practiced skill.
One of the best ways to improve fluency is through ear reading.
By hearing the words read with intonation, proper pronunciation, and meaningful phrasing, the student is learning how to do that himself. He is building fluency.
Ways to Start Ear Reading
Technology has opened the door to independent ear reading. Here are some ways to get started.
Audible, the most popular audiobook site, has over 470,000 titles and counting.
You can purchase a subscription and download unlimited titles per month.
You can also check out audiobooks through your local library.
If you are looking for audiobooks in the public domain, you might find them for free on Librivox.
YouTube also has a selection of free audiobooks.
Text to Speech
You can read online documents with text-to-speech technology.
The technology continues to develop (so it is sounding less like a robot and more like natural speech).
Microsoft Word and Google Docs both have add-on extensions that will convert your files to speech.
The best app for text-to-speech is Natural Reader. It can convert .doc and .pdf files. It’s also multi-lingual.
Is Ear Reading for Everyone?
Everyone can experience the benefits of ear reading. When you follow the text with your eyes while listening to the text with your ears, you use multiple senses. This helps information stick.
Whether you want to increase fluency or comprehension or simply save time, ear reading is a valuable technique.