Echo Reading: Everything You Need to Know

Echo reading is a reading tactic employed by adults when teaching children. Here, the adult articulately reads out a portion of text, following which the child echoes the adult’s reading. Typically, short segments of text work the best for echo reading. It could be a short paragraph or even a sentence, which the child will repeat after the adult has read it aloud. Echo reading is typically used for elementary school students, but it can be used for middle school students too, on occasions. However, it’s rarely used for high school students.

Echo reading is an effective teaching method that helps struggling readers. It has also been found helpful for children with learning disabilities, such as Down syndrome and speech impairments. This technique aims to develop a child’s expression, fluency, and decoding skills. It can also trigger improvements in several other areas such as comprehension, listening skills, confidence, identification of unknown words, vocabulary, and proper phrasing. When adults read small parts of the text aloud, they will focus on fluent, expressive reading. Thus, this technique supports the conversion of printed text into spoken words complemented by the relevant expressions. When the child echoes the text back, they will do it by modeling the adult, thus learning to incorporate fluency and expressions into their reading.

Ideally, the text chosen for echo reading should be just above the child’s present reading level. If it’s too easy, the technique won’t offer any benefits. If it’s too difficult, it will make the child feel frustrated. To make echo reading engaging and beneficial, one may use a book that the child likes or is familiar with. This will help the child connect what’s being read with their prior knowledge and background comprehension.

Echo reading involves a 5-step process as mentioned below:

1.                  The adult reads a sentence or two aloud, modeling expressive and fluent reading.

2.                  The child will follow along by either tracking the text with their eyes or pointing at the words with their finger. Sometimes, the adult uses a blend of both methods to find which works the best for the child.

3.                  The child will now recite the text back to the adult.

4.                  The adult will read the following few sentences, which the child will repeat.

5.                  The process will be repeated until the adult feels the child has become too or fatigued frustrated.

In between these steps, the adult should praise the child’s effort to keep them engaged and interested in echo reading.

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