Reading Out Loud vs Reading in Your Head – Which One Is Better for You?

Reading Out Loud vs Reading in Your Head

While most people claim that reading has tons of benefits for our mental and physical health regardless of what and how we read, we are dedicated here at Basmo to teaching you how to get the best out of every single reading session. Yes, reading anything, anywhere, anyhow is still going to be great for you, there’s no argument there. But if we can turn things up to eleven, why wouldn’t we? 

We believe in taking full advantage of our reading and that is why we dedicated some time to exploring the much-discussed topic of reading out loud vs reading in your head. 

There are some differences in how we absorb information through both and how the experience impacts us, so we had no choice but to extensively explore the benefits and drawbacks of both.

What does it mean to read out loud vs to read in your head?

First, let’s see what reading out loud and reading in your head means. Well, as the name suggests, reading out loud represents the process of reading while also externalizing the things we read through speech. Reading in your head, or reading silently, on the other hand, is defined as reading without expressing ourselves verbally, and internalizing the entire process. 

Basically, reading aloud vs silent reading comes down to finding out whether we should speak up while reading or not. It may seem like a pointless discussion to a certain extent. After all, reading is reading, regardless of how we do it. Well, yes and no. It’s been proven by researchers that reading out loud is significantly different from reading internally and most benefits revolve around the way we absorb information.

What are the benefits of reading out loud?

While reading internally is the natural instinctive way we all tend to do our reading in, reading out loud seems to provide us with some additional benefits not many of us would have thought of. 

Here are some of the most notable advantages of reading aloud.

Better information retention

Researchers have shown in more than one study that we have a tendency to retain more information from texts we read out loud than we do when reading internally. This is also called “the production effect” and represents the way our brains process the information we get silently vs when the words are also spoken.

The difference in the amount of information we retain while reading aloud has to do with how much of our brain gets involved in the process. When we read out loud, we involve a much bigger part of our brain, since we also activate the centers of speech on top of the regular parts that are generally involved in reading. The way the encoding and decoding of the information our brains process while reading differs is also considered by scientists to contribute to the enhanced memory performance associated with out-loud reading. 

If you’re looking for an additional boost for your information retention abilities, we strongly recommend you to use Basmo, the reading tracking app. Not only does it track your reading, analyze your reading habits, and provide insightful statistics, but it also comes with a couple of features that can have a positive effect on your memorization abilities.

For example, taking notes while reading is known for ensuring you remember a lot more from what you read.

With Basmo, taking notes is easier than ever. The note-taking feature is integrated within the app and becomes automatically available the second you start a reading session. 

You just need to open the app while reading and start typing. Your notes will remain saved within the book you are reading and are easily customizable in terms of fonts, font sizes, and colors, which means you can also organize them however you see fit.

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Reading out loud improves vocabulary

While any kind of reading you are doing will have a positive effect on your vocabulary, reading out loud is thought to enhance the rate at which your vocabulary is enriched while reading. This may have something to do with the fact that reading out loud ensures a better information retention rate while reading. 

In other words, the fact that we externalize the words and hear them spoken in our own voice makes it more likely for us to actually remember them and retrieve them whenever we want to use them at later times.

Reading aloud boosts our fluency

Does reading out loud improve speech? Not at all surprising, reading out loud has a positive effect on how fluent we are in a certain language. Whether it’s our mother tongue or a different language we are learning, reading out loud is guaranteed to improve our fluency and how easy it is for us to find the right words in conversations to express ourselves.

Reading aloud can be seen as a form of practicing speech. We get the chance to hear ourselves speaking and to speak more than we normally would. This enhances our abilities to verbally express our thoughts and feelings because, as we all know, practice makes perfect.

Out loud reading can improve comprehension

Believe it or not, reading out loud has been found to also come with the benefit of better reading comprehension on top of everything else I mentioned above. That’s because speaking while reading forces our brain to activate more areas and also because another effect of reading out loud is that we are more focused on what we read.

Sometimes when we read internally, we tend to let our minds drift off a bit more than we are supposed to. Reading out loud changes that. Since we are forced to pay attention both to our reading and to our speaking, it is close to impossible to disengage from the reading we are doing. That way we are more involved in the story, the words we read and hear get a deeper meaning, and we have a better overall understanding of the reading material we are going through. 

What are the benefits of reading internally?

Even though reading out loud seems to come with a couple of overwhelming benefits, internally reading is by no means a bad idea.

There is a lot for each and every one of us to gain from reading internally, and the ideal scenario we discussed here at Basmo extensively and on which we unanimously agreed is that out loud reading sessions and silent reading sessions should be alternated if we want to extract the most value from our reading in general.

Here are some of the most notable silent reading benefits.

Reading internally is faster than reading out loud 

The speed of reading out loud is limited by the speed of your speech. You will not be able to exceed the rate of your speech while reading, which in the end will slow you down.

Reading internally is done a lot quicker since there is no physical act that will slow you down. Your better reading rate will also ensure that you will get a lot more reading done in the same timeframe. 

If you’re curious to see the difference between your reading speed while reading out loud vs reading in your head, you can use Basmo to determine how it changes from one reading session to another.

Basmo records your reading sessions and tracks several important pieces of information about the reading you are doing.

One of those is your reading speed, which is calculated or estimated according to the number of pages you are reading within a certain period of time.

Silent reading leads to a more introspective experience

Reading internally has the effect of allowing you to focus more on how you feel about what you are reading rather than on the actual information you are processing. This is especially useful if you are looking for a mindful and wholesome reading experience.

Not reading out loud leads to you being able to pay more attention to how the story affects you, how you perceive the words, and how all this makes you feel. Internalizing what you are reading is an amazing experience, one that eventually leads to a better developed empathy. 

If you want to put more focus on your emotions and how your reading makes you feel, Basmo comes with a dedicated feature meant to help you track your emotions and use them to enhance your reading experience.

After each reading session with Basmo ends, you will be prompted to choose an emoji that best matches your mood. The information is recorded and later used for a weekly emotions report.

You can use this data as you see fit, but most of our users claim that the emotions reports help them a lot with deciding what to read next.

Reading internally lets your imagination do its thing

The fact that reading and imagination go hand in hand is no surprise for any of us. What’s particularly interesting about this is that reading internally is a lot more effective in stimulating your imagination than reading out loud.

Again, the reasoning behind this effect has to do with the way we focus on our reading. While reading out loud forces us to pay attention to the language, the words, the information, leaving little or no brain power for imagination, internal reading has the opposite effect.

While reading silently, we can allow our brain to start filling in the gaps while reading, we can let our imagination run wild, and even try and visualize with our mind’s eye the things we are reading about.

A good way to exercise and improve imagination is to try and jot down what we think is about to happen in a book before we actually find out how the story ends. Using the journaling feature from the Basmo app can make this whole process a lot easier and more fun. 

You can use the journaling feature to simply type your thoughts and feelings as you read, write as much as you want, and keep track of how much you manage to guess about a book’s ending before you actually finish reading it.

Reading out loud vs reading in your head – which is better?

So, is it better to read out loud or to read in your head? The general consensus is that reading out loud is the overall better choice. Through out-loud reading, you will remember more of what you read, you will enhance your vocabulary, you will become a more fluent speaker, and you are likely to become more confident in your reading and speaking skills.

On the other hand, internal reading does come with the benefits of a more introspective reading process, a better effect on your level of empathy, a more mindful and wholesome reading experience, and a more imaginative process. 

While it is up to you to decide which of the two is the right choice for you, the team at Basmo has found that alternating out-loud reading sessions with internal reading sessions covers the entire spectrum of reading benefits you can enjoy. 

Final thoughts

Both reading out loud and reading internally are great for you. Any kind of reading you decide to do is going to come with certain benefits, but it is up to you to decide exactly what you want to achieve through your reading. Basmo is here to help you throughout the entire process regardless of your choice.

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