Does Reading Improve Speech?

Does Reading Improve Speech?

Since the way the world currently works pushes us to communicate more and more without actually speaking, many of us started struggling with social interactions. We text so much and use so many other ways of communicating, that we sometimes find it difficult to have a conversation with a person face to face. We sometimes struggle to find the right words to express ourselves, we feel awkward, and in many cases, our fluency also lacks to a certain extent. 

What can we do to overcome this? While the obvious solution would seem to be simply to interact more with people face to face, that is not always possible or desirable. How about reading then? Does reading improve speech? Does reading help you speak better? We’ll be exploring all of that below.

What is the connection between reading and speaking?

Before we can understand whether reading can improve our speaking skills, it’s important to take into account how reading and speaking are actually connected. The main connection is quite obvious: even though the actual medium used differs, they both rely on the same language and actual words in order to communicate a certain message.

The connection between reading and speaking goes a little further though. Reading is an activity you usually do by yourself, in the comfort of your home or a different chosen location, which can help expand your vocabulary, familiarize yourself with different concepts, phrases or expressions, appropriate responses in conversations, and can also improve your general knowledge.

The effects of reading on our capabilities to have a conversation go far beyond the actual words and the order we speak them in: books can give us something to talk about, they can teach us interesting facts, and a way to actually practice our speaking skills (if we read out loud).

Does reading help you speak better?

Without any shred of a doubt, reading does have a positive impact on how well we speak, whether it’s our mother tongue or a foreign language. Overall, reading can improve many aspects of the way you speak: your vocabulary, grammar, use of special expressions, confidence during a conversation, and even your fluency.

Does reading make you more articulate?

Yes, reading can help you become more articulate. By constantly exposing yourself to certain words, even new ones, they will become more familiar and will become part of your vocabulary without you even noticing it. 

Not only that, but by reading out loud, you also actually practice your speaking skills, which will result in better articulation and better speaking fluency. There are actually many benefits you can get from reading out loud:

  • It is amazing speaking practice: you get to practice pronouncing certain words and repeating them while reading will make them become second nature. You will use them easier and better in future conversations.
  • It improves your memory: the fact that you read something and also hear it at the same time increases your chances of remembering it, as it will get different parts of your brain to activate and process the information
  • It helps you better understand what you read: using the same reasoning from the memory enhancement point, reading things out loud will help you understand new concepts better and quicker.

How does reading help you speak better?

It is now time to get a bit more in depth, and start exploring and understanding how exactly reading can help us become better speakers. 

Better vocabulary 

Studies have shown that the difference in vocabulary between children who are exposed to reading in early childhood and those who aren’t is close to a million words by the time they start kindergarten. While that is an undoubtedly impressive number, things aren’t very different for adults either. 

Reading constantly exposes us to new words or sayings, and whether we understand their meaning from context or have to search for them online or in a dictionary, the benefit of constantly learning new words is irrefutably important for our speaking skills. 

The more words we know, the easier it is for us to have conversations, as this eliminates the awkwardness of constantly pausing to search for the right words to express our thoughts and feelings. 

The best way to improve our vocabulary while reading consists of two main actions:

  • Extensive reading: as the name suggests, this type of reading consists of consuming all kinds of different reading materials from any genre or type. Whether it’s a cook book, a mechanical handbook, or a fiction novel, there is something for us to learn from it, including specific words that we wouldn’t have the option to learn elsewhere.
  • Intensive reading: instead of reading any materials that fall into our hands, intensive reading means focusing on small pieces of text and reading them with a clear intent to understand them in depth. Rather than reading a whole novel, for example, it is sometimes useful to focus on a single page at once, and try to understand every word, every phrase, observe and remember how the sentences are built, and actively search for the definition of any unfamiliar words. 

Whether you’re in an extensive reading phase or in an intensive reading phase, Basmo can be a very valuable tool for your vocabulary. Basmo is a reading tracking app that comes with additional features, like the note-taking option. This can easily be used while reading, and you can simply write down every new word you discover and its explanation.

This will help you remember it in two different ways: the simple act of writing will force your brain to process it in a more active way and it will build stronger neuronal connections because of the complexity of the action, and you can also always go over your notes to remember what new words you discovered.

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Increases familiarity with different words, sounds, and concepts

Learning new words is obviously good for your vocabulary, but so is constantly being exposed to old ones. Reading is always going to bring up certain words you may have forgotten, concepts, or sayings. Familiarizing yourself with them through repetition is going to make it a lot easier to recall them exactly when you need them the most: during conversations.

Not only that, but if you read out loud or through subvocalization, you will become more familiar with the way certain words sound, not just with their meaning and proper use.

Here, Basmo can be of great help as well. Not only can you write notes of the words you want to remember or the phrases you love, but you can also use the page scanner function to save your favorite quotes. 

You can even choose to create visual quotes by turning the text into colorful and customizable images. That way, by simply having them stored on your phone within the app, you will be able to search for them and bring them up in conversations whenever you feel they would improve its quality.

Improves fluency

Have you ever felt like a certain word or phrase is just on the tip of your tongue but just can’t recall it? That’s what happens when certain words or phrases just slip your mind because you haven’t used, read or heard them in a long time. And, as you can imagine, it has a negative impact on your fluency. 

Reading can help you avoid that and become more fluent while speaking since it will constantly remind you of certain words or sayings you don’t use as often. 

It can help in dealing with emotions

Sometimes conversations aren’t difficult simply because we find it difficult to find the right words or to come up with conversation topics. Sometimes we find it hard to speak to certain people simply because of our emotions. Perhaps we feel intimidated, don’t have a strong enough connection with the person we are talking to, or we just can’t relate to it, and while that is perfectly acceptable, it’s usually a very uncomfortable experience.

One amazing thing about reading (especially fiction), is that it has been proven to be a great way to become more empathetic and improve our social skills. Reading fiction exposes us to different life stories, situations, perspectives, and ways of thinking. This, in turn, will make it easier for us to understand the people around us, find topics for conversations, and see the world from their eyes. 

This open-mindedness will make us better speakers, more entertaining people, and will increase the quality of our social interactions. 

To achieve the best effect from reading when it comes to becoming more empathetic, we need to engage in what is called mindful reading. What this means is to read with a clear intent to go further with our understanding. We need to be aware of what we are reading as a whole, understand the meaning behind the words on the piece of paper, in a state of completely living the present and be in touch with our emotions. 

To achieve that, Basmo comes with a great solution: keep track of your emotions as you read.

Each reading session with Basmo ends by prompting you to select from a series of emojis to mark down the way you felt during that reading session.

By keeping your emotions in check, you don’t only realize exactly what you actually love reading and what you don’t, but it will also force you to take a careful look inside in order to understand your feelings and identify them. By doing this exercise every time you finish a reading session, you will become more aware of your reading and your emotions, which in turn will help you become a more empathetic person.

You can read books about public speaking

A more direct approach to improving speech through reading is to simply read about speaking. Believe it or not, the fear of public speaking has been named one of the top 5 fears among people in the United States. 

There is a huge number of books dedicated to improving our ability to speak in public and overcoming glossophobia. Among many other things, you can also learn a lot of tips and tricks from these books, which will make it a lot easier for you to communicate. 

How to read more?

Does reading help with speech? It clearly does, but how can we dedicate more of our time to reading so that we can overcome our speaking difficulties? We live the most fast-paced lives in the history of our species, we are constantly surrounded by distractions, and our free time has become a luxury, which leaves us very slim chances of finding a way to read every day.

Luckily, Basmo is here to help with that.

Basmo App
The Basmo app

This reading tracking app comes packed with features that will help you read more, and in turn, speak better:

  • Reading goals: you can set your personalized reading goals, either for daily reading or total books read in a year, which will keep you motivated to read more and achieve the things you wanted.
  • Reading schedule: Basmo helps you create healthy reading habits through a customizable schedule. You can select the days of the week you want to read in, different times for each day, and the app will also remind you through gentle notifications of the upcoming reading sessions. That way you will ensure to set some structure in your reading habits and will help you read more by simply never allowing you to forget that you should. 
  • Statistics: Basmo also records important information from each reading session. That way, in time, you will have important data about your reading habits. How quickly you read, how often you do it, and this form of gamification of your reading will have a positive effect on the amount of reading you actually do. 
  • Reading lists: We know very well how difficult it is to move on from one book to another and how much time is wasted “between books”. By giving you the option to create completely personalizable reading lists you can easily populate and edit, Basmo helps you reduce the time wasted deciding what to read next, therefore giving you a chance to read more. 

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Final thoughts

So, does reading help you speak better? Does reading improve speech? The answer can only be a resounding yes. By improving your vocabulary, making you more empathetic, and enhancing your social skills, reading can make you a much better conversation partner. Read with Basmo to see the reading benefits completely maximized!

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