Reading aloud to enhance language skills
Technically, there are four basic language skills: speaking, listening, writing, and reading. However, in reality, they are inseparable and work together to produce what is known as language proficiency. For example, when a person participates in a conversation, s/he is expected to both speak and listen; if the conversation is over Skype, then to write and to read too.
The four skills work closely together in a lot of speech situations. But have you ever considered that the four language skills are also tied together in a different way? Namely, while we practise speaking, for example, we also often practise listening because the best practice of speaking is probably participation in a conversation and this typically involves listening.
Similarly, when we read, we can also contribute to the three other skills (besides the reading skill). One way to make most of your time reading is to read aloud. Reading aloud activates not only our visual memory (we read with eyes), but also auditory memory (we hear ourselves pronouncing words and phrases) and articulatory memory (our mouth and tongue “remember” how to build correct phrases and sentences). The more articulatory organs (e.g. tongue and lips) and organs of perception (e.g. eyes and ears) participate in speech, the better the information is remembered and the likelier we are to use the phrases we came across and to build new ones on their basis in our own speech.
It is important to note that although reading is a powerful tool to enhance language proficiency, it should be also combined with extensive speaking, listening, and writing to improve the ability to communicate in a foreign language overall. The point that I wanted to underline in this post is that whenever there is a chance to read, it may be a good idea to read aloud to contribute to better dynamics of building language proficiency.