Reading aloud smoothly requires at least three areas to functioning well simultaneously. More than likely, students who cannot read well aloud aren’t doing a very good job when reading silently. You just can’t hear them to be sure. Testing reading comprehension can give some clues, but this isn’t perfect.
First, to read smoothly aloud requires that you actually can read. Students who are lacking grade-level reading skills will struggle to read aloud in a normal sounding rhythm. Each word will be a challenge to be sure that it is being pronounced correctly. If the student can speak in a regular pattern, he or she should be able to read that way, too. Teaching phonics can be a great asset. Pushing vocabulary along with phonics is a one-two punch.
Some students who can read struggle to see the text well enough to decode the words quickly for reading aloud. The solution to this is to get their eyes checked and fitted with proper glasses. Finding texts with larger print can also assist here. Some younger student’s eyes don’t mature as early as others. They will struggle to read those smaller fonts until their eyes are ready. Larger print will make a big difference.
Other students have a fear of failing in front of their peers. It’s a performance anxiety. Their fear will lessen their ability to interpret the text. Sight is the most brain intensive sense that we have. Anything that diminishes brain function will affect sight. The only solution to this is to have the parents read aloud with their child privately until their confidence rises.
An hour a night with the parent will do far more than a few paragraphs per week in the classroom. The student won’t be embarrassed to fail in front of a caring parent.
Once he or she has mastered reading aloud from the grade-level material at home, it should be no problem to translate that into success in the classroom. Don’t be surprised if achievement in other subjects doesn’t start to rise as reading improves.