Back to Basics: Echo Reading

Welcome back to our Back to Basics series! In this series we explore some of the foundational methods, practices and terminology for teaching reading. This series is for those new to the field of literacy, beginning tutors or those who would just like a refresher. This week we are discussing the fluency strategy of echo reading.

Echo reading is a simple activity that involves a tutor reading a text aloud line by line, or sentence by sentence, modeling appropriate fluency to a learner. After reading each line, the learner echoes back the reading of the line with the same rate and rhythm. There are three main steps to echo reading:

  1. Both the tutor and the learner have a copy of the text. The tutor reads a line of text or a sentence. How much to read at one time will depend on the ability level of your learner.
  2. While the tutor reads out loud with expression and at a good pace, the learner follows along in the text.
  3. After the tutor reads a line or sentence, the learner reads it out loud. They try to imitate the way the tutor reads the text.

It may also be helpful for some learners if the tutor points to each line of text as it is read. Encourage the learner to do the same.

Below is an example of a tutor and learner practicing echo reading.

Echo reading can help build the fluency and confidence of emerging readers. It also gives them practice reading with proper expression. Additionally, it can help the learner understand a good reading pace and how to read punctuation marks. If a learner reads either too slow or too fast, it can affect their comprehension of the text.

“…hearing a skilled reader perform the words on the page, listening to them use punctuation and syntax to create meaning, getting the sense of the prosody of unfamiliar language, can be wonderful.” – David Didau

Echo reading is a straightforward activity that complements other fluency strategies. Check out the resources below to learn more about echo reading and how to use it with your learners.


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