Why does reading aloud make you smarter?

When you read something aloud, you’re employing a great number of your faculties, and more often than not, the very act of reading aloud is a revelation in itself!

Why should you try reading aloud? 7 wonderful benefits that will get you going.

Reading aloud does a number of good things. Today, we’ll focus on only 7 of them.

Reading Aloud:

  • Sharpens Your Focus
  • Increases Your Vocabulary
  • Results in Greater Comprehension
  • Gives you an Opportunity to Play
  • Exercises Your Body
  • Challenges Your Use of Intonation
  • Improves Listening and Reading Skills

1. Sharpens Focus

When you’re reading aloud, you will find that it becomes easier to put all of your energy into the task at hand without the temptation of distractions. You are so focused that you likely won’t even notice that you are strengthening your mental and verbal skills.

If you think about it, your mind is akin to a muscle. When it works out, you tone it and build up strength. When you read aloud, you are exercising the connection between your mind and your voice to the full extent which results in greater focus and cohesiveness.

2. Increases Vocabulary

Saying something in context aloud is very powerful. When you are reading in your head, you only hear the words internally and their effect on you is limited to how you interpret the words during that very private experience.

If you choose to read them aloud, you may find deeper layers of meaning in the words because when they are when spoken, they take on a life of their own off of the written page and become part of you, and inevitably through comprehension, become part of your vocabulary and influence your use of language.

3. Greater Comprehension

People learn in a variety of ways, visual, aural, tactile and so on. By reading aloud, you’ll stand a better chance of internalizing the words and making them your own before you perform.

Of course, this approach helps others who are not reading aloud as an actor, but for the sake of learning in general.

If you are an auditory learner, reading your notes or text books aloud will help the material to sink in and become ingrained, making it easier to draw on the information you’ve just ingested for when you need to reference it in the future.

4. Opportunity to Play

When is the last time you read something out loud just for the sheer pleasure of doing so?

If you are looking for an opportunity to stretch your imagination and explore the capabilities that may be hidden in your voice, read a children’s book aloud to someone you love.

Not only will it increase your creativity but it will greatly impact the creativity of your children or those you are reading to. For more on this, check out Rainbow Star Books and read a list that details the benefits of reading aloud to children.

If you’re looking for a great book that teaches you how to read to your kids and have them request your stories again and again, I recommend checking out Pat Fraley’s book “Read it again! Read it again! How to Read to Kids So They Come Back for More“.

5. Exercises Your Body

When people speak, we often involve more than just our voice in the projection process. In fact, many of us, attributable to culture or otherwise, make use of our entire body when speaking to get a point across. Physical expression adds or body language supports what we are saying.

6. Challenges Your Use of Intonation

When you read aloud, there is hardly the opportunity to sound dull, especially if you have an audience. Make use of the full range of your voice. You’ll only be able to discover and explore it if you are speaking the words with the intention of them being heard.

If you’re wondering how you sound, try recording yourself and then playing it back, noting where your voice goes up, down, starts, stops, fluctuates and even surprises you.

Use a pencil and paper to mark your scripts to help direct your tone and vocal interpretation of the story or piece of ad copy. You’ll be amazed by how some forethought and attention to detail can make an enormous impact on your delivery.

7. Improves Listening and Reading Skills

Lastly, reading aloud will make you more aware of things that you read, hear and also help you to identify proper grammar, sentence structure, and so forth. Reading aloud also does much for shaping your interpretation of what is being said.

You’ll be able to read with more efficiency and richness, expand your literary horizons and also experiment with the many ways you could interpret the written word, then translate your findings through spoken word expression.

Something else I found interesting was a list of qualities needed for reading aloud, located in Mary E. Brown’s article, Reading Aloud, featured on the educational site pertaining to Literature for Children, Department of Library Science and Instructional Technology at the Southern Connecticut State University, in New Haven CT. Give that a read if you like. I think you’ll find it worth your time.

Do You Enjoy Reading Aloud?

What kind of benefits to you receive?

Looking forward to hearing from you,



  1. Great topic today! I read aloud to my kids daily. It gives me some quality time with my family and as a voice actor a bit of a verbal workout. Anything by Dr. Seuss is great but “Fox in Socks” is my favorite. Lots of tongue-twisters and difficult to nail in one read!

  2. Hi Stephanie,
    I can add to your list of the joys of reading aloud. I was a speech major in college with an emphasis on the “Oral Interpretation of Literature”–STORYTELLING! Did you know you could MAJOR in that? Oh, well, it was the Seventies. I joined the university’s Forensics team (that’s competitive speaking, folks, not medicine)and traveled to other colleges around the country performing stories, cuttings from novels and plays and reading poetry. It wasn’t memorized, but it was “performed” with all of the accompanying characterizations and body language. Some of my favorite pieces were a play called “Where Are You Going, Hollis Jay?”, a very dark short story called “Silent Snow, Secret Snow,” a hilarious JOHN STEINBECK short story that he wrote in the style of Edgar Allan Poe called “The Affair at 7, Rue de M–” (you can find this online, I think), and just for fun, “McElligot’s Pool” by Dr. Seuss. These are all pieces MADE for reading aloud. My husband also competed on his Forensics team in college (we met in a production studio doing commercials together), so naturally our daughter benefitted greatly when it came time for bedtime stories!!!
    Thanks for letting me share.

  3. Hi Stephanie,
    I love reading aloud to children! I’ve directed an elementary aged musical every summer for four years and we always end our day with me reading a story to them. It’s a great way for them to focus their energy and their reactions are a wonderful way for me to guage how I expres the story.
    I’ll have to check out Pat Fraley’s book, I bet it’s full of fantastic advice.
    Thanks for the great article!
    Ashley Huyge

  4. Obama and I have something in common–we both read the Harry Potter books aloud to our kids. Well, he made it through all of them and I made it through four, but he obviously has greater determination than I.
    Now my kids are teenagers and we all remember those readings as a great part of childhood. Of course it’s a good workout for voice actors! You have to keep yourself interested, focused, and performing well in one take.
    And all the science on early childhood development points to the importance of verbal intelligence–meaning use a good vocabulary with kids and read aloud them! It will change their brains, and probably yours, for the better.

  5. Reading aloud is something I tell my students to do to improve VO skill. It dramatically increases the Eye-mouth-brain coordination that enables you to be able to cold read copy as if you’ve read it 100 times!
    This skill is essential if you want to get into longform narration or audiobooks.
    I suggest that my student read a book –any book– to tape for Christmas present for mom… just to get the practice.
    Ooops! Stephanie, does that violate copyright law? 🙂 Good article the other day on that, by the way!
    Sign up for the FREE VoiceOver Insider at http://www.voice-overs.com.

  6. I have 4 wonderful kids who were all read to by me reguarly using my skills as a Radio Newscaster and aspiring Voice Actor. They enjoyed the enthusiasm and imagination I put into what I read to them and feel it also helped me professionally. Reading aloud to kids is something I have encouraged others in radio to do and they have told me they have enjoyed it.
    Dan Gorham Kingston, NY

  7. Hi Julie et al,
    Thank you so much for sharing your stories and memories of reading aloud!
    To answer your question Julie, if the works are in the public domain (really old, published before January 1st, 1923 in the US), they are in the clear.
    See these sources here for more information about “Public Domain”:
    Looking forward to hearing more stories 🙂

  8. Great topic, thank you. What you suggest here is very true….I often read to my husband! Of course he is very polite and never says “be quiet” so I get lots of practice! Kidding…..

  9. Great list Stephanie and very useful advice for us aspiring voice actors. In my experience (especially in foreign language learning), however, I find that reading aloud makes it more difficult to comprehend what one is reading as one’s energy is focused on performance, not understanding. That said, for those listening to what your read, auditory input certainly does tend to trump reading to oneself when it comes to comprehension and retention.

  10. Hey Steph
    Enjoyed your article, I suffer from a strange ailment where I am constantly harassed in my mind by the voices of some real undesirable people / ghosts / conciousness / ??? reading aloud is a great thereputic practice for this condition. Gives me peace of mind, a much needed break and time to myself and I get to enrich the lives of the horrible souls that torment me. I’m really enjoying reading aloud.

  11. Hi Steph
    I am 38. All my life I have always struggled at learning in school. I always wondered why I simply cannot remember or comprehend what I am read. When I read quiety my mind seems to get distracted easily. I also feel sleepy. I am realizing that I enjoy reading out loud. I have to keep assuring myself that “I am OK” when I am doing this. I found I remember things better. My self confidence also improves. Do feel to give me suggestions how I can improve my learning experience. Thank you for writing this article.

  12. I like audio books for the reasons you’ve adumbrated in your article. Especially it comes to really technical subjects, I find that it improves my comprehension and my grades.

  13. I too read aloud. Many people avoid me by saying that by this way I waste my energy but this data has really helped me for overcoming from all those comments. I want to thank you for enriching my spirit and empowering me.

  14. I have been thinking about trying to start up a group for adults reading to adults at our newly built local branch of the Chicago Public Library. An interest in history would provide an initial common thread. We would come together with our digital devices and/or hard copy books, magazines, etc. with the expressed intent to simply relax in the presence of others and to read aloud whenever we come across a particularly interesting paragraph from our non-assigned materials. Hopefully, the evolving format would also encourage spontaneous shared discussion and surfing.
    I’d love to hear your constructive comments about this idea and if you know of any similar adult reading aloud groups. For me, “Internet Elbows Out Loud” as a group name would convey the combination of person-to-person interaction in conjunction with digital exploring.

  15. Hi!
    I’ve been reading to my little sister every night before bed and I just wanted to say that it feels so good. She loves it and always tells me to never forget to do it. I’m 16 and she’s 10, and I’m telling you, it’s so great being able to have these special moments with her every day. It’s more than just reading to her, it’s like we’re creating memories. And I hope that when we’re older we won’t ever forget all these special times we’ve shared.

  16. Hi there! I resigned from my job and I feel bored at times staying home, suddenly I realized why not practice reading at least to enhance my reading skills. Now during my bored times I just read books out loud, either magazines, newspaper or any other article that I can read to improve my English.

  17. Being a bit of a loner or a perceived “quiet one/introvert” reading aloud is a fun way to escape my mind when it sometimes feels like a prison

  18. Stephanis, your excellent article will be linked on the June 25 menu of my website http://www.v2catholic.com which now has six daily recordings to help older students with English. I Googled your article since I noticed the good effect making the recordings was having on myself …increasing my understanding of what I was reading

  19. I rather quite say that I indeed enjoyed reading this Stephanie. I thank you for such an eye opener on these things you have mentioned. I also thank you for the eye catcher on how you automatically grabbed me in within the topic. I say so myself that I need to read aloud more often and also work on my speech, tone as well too. This was indeed inspirational and fulfilling to read today! 🙂

  20. I am retired. I belong to a group of seniors called Books Alive. We read in schools to young children. Books Alive is associated with Maggies FarmTheater. Maggie’s Farm Theater presents community theater here in St, Louis Park. I enjoy reading aloud to children and would be interested in reading for adults. I used to teach First Aid and CPR, so I am comfortable in front of adults as well as children.
    Joseph Williams

  21. It was a use full topic which u have discussed. I had always found difficult to study silently. Many told that reading out loud will waste ur energy and end up reading slowly. I think every one could be fast loud Reader if u practice regularly As good as silent reading.

  22. I loved this article. I have learned a lot since signing up with Voices.com. Thank you so much. My original and main language is Spanish and sometimes words, that might be used incorrectly just jump at me, particularly when reading out loud. This was the case with the following paragraph:

    2. Increases Vocabulary

    Saying something in context aloud is very powerful. When you are reading in your head, you only hear the words internally and their affect on you is limited to how you interpret the words during that very private experience.

    The question is: In this case, shouldn’t the word be, EFFECT?

    Just wondering

    • Hi Coco,
      Thank you for taking the time to read this article!
      That’s an excellent catch – I believe you’re right. It should be ‘effect,’ as ‘affect’ is used as verb.
      I’ve updated the copy to reflect the change. Thanks for letting us know!
      All the best


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