Difference, Merits, and Demerits of Reading Aloud and Silent Reading in Learning English Language

Reading is one of the most important skills in language learning. It is a passive process because it is most receptive. Efficient reading can be equivalent to self-education which is essential for the modification and enhancement of personality.

Difference between Silent Reading and Loud Reading

Silent reading is often regarded as the best type of reading mainly because it engages the mind of the reader completely. Once children have mastered loud reading and have gained proper fluency and command over the language, they must be encouraged to read silently. Morrison states, “ Loud reading by students should be followed by silent reading.” Mehta adds, “We all read faster than we speak and children must be initiated into the silent reading habit as early as possible.” Ryburn states, “The aims of silent reading are pleasure and profit; to be able to read for interest and to get information.”

Loud reading is also referred to as oral or aloud reading. It should be conducted once the learners have been given a little training and have been taught about intonation, stress, pronunciation, pitch, and other aspects of spoken English.  Ryburn states that loud reading is important, “To test the pupils’ knowledge of English words and phrases and whether they know how to pronounce them, how to phrase words, how to articulate clearly. That is, reading aloud is a test as well as a practice.”

Merits of Loud Reading

  1. Model teaching by the teacher helps the students to learn the correct pronunciation and method of reading.
  2. It develops the skill of speech and giving lectures.
  3. It helps in eradicating the mistakes related to the pronunciation of the students.
  4. It trains the sensory organs—eyes, ears, and mouth because, in loud reading, they work in coordination.
  5. It makes students learn by imitation which is a natural method of learning things by children.

Demerits of Loud Reading

  1. Some scholars, including E.W.Manzel, are of the opinion that loud reading is not a source of pleasure.
  2. A student cannot become an extensive reader if he becomes habituated to loud reading.
  3. Loud reading does not help in penetrating the meaning. A.W. Frisby says, “The danger of too much reading aloud is that it may lead to the short circulating of the meaning, whereby the written word does not convey meaning but becomes merely a symbol for the collection of sounds and is translated straight in sound.
  4. In public places like libraries and reading rooms, only silent reading is allowed.

Merits of Silent Reading

  1. Silent reading is a quick way of reading through a passage. Silent reading saves time and energy.
  2. The students find it an interesting way of reading.
  3. According to Mehta, “ It acts as a deterrent against the tendency so common amongst beginners to translate what they read in English into their mother tongue.”
  4. Silent reading is of great value in practical life even after school life. It helps in higher classes as the students have to comprehend the vast resources of textbooks for comprehension and examination purposes.
  5. According to Ryburn, “It enables attention and energy to be concentrated on meaning and so it saves a division of attention resulting in a greater assimilation of information.”

Demerits of silent reading

  1. Silent reading is not apt for beginners.
  2. It does not focus much on pronunciation. Though the students pronounce in their minds, the mistakes of the students cannot be corrected by the teacher.
  3. It is difficult to figure out if the students are reading in actuality or are just looking at the text and wandering.

Reading has the power to broaden our outlook and train our minds as well. Reading is the linguistic skill that requires the most amount of attention and concentration. There are two main types of reading which include silent reading and loud reading.