Blogging Lesson From the Second Grade

Filed as Guides on March 2, 2010 8:54 pm

When I think back to grade school, I still break out into a sweat remembering the horror of being called on unexpectedly by a teacher and asked to read a passage aloud. You always had the feeling that you were one stammer or mispronunciation away from being ostracized.

My wife, who is a teacher but still takes advanced education classes, recently asked me to help her with an assignment. My job? Read the paper she wrote aloud. And you know what? The tactic that she employs with her second grade class could be beneficial to bloggers.

You might look like a fool, but here are a few reasons to read your blog posts aloud.

DOES THE POST CAPTURE YOUR VOICE?

It’s easy to lose your way when you’re churning out blog posts and juggling a million tasks (on top of your already busy life!). One of the first things writers tend to lose is their tone. By reading your posts aloud you will be able to discover if the words sound like you. Ask yourself: If this post were to get picked up by major media, does it do me justice? Listen to hear if your main points are strong enough and if your arguments compelling.

SPOT GRAMMAR/SPELLING ERRORS

If you read the way I do, you occasionally catch yourself skipping over blocks of text. Call it ADHD or a product of the digital age, whatever it is, it could lead to some ugly errors. By consuming your post in a different format, you get to double-check that the punctuation makes sense. These little symbols exist to bring law and order to our wordy world. Without them we would have chaos.

CHECK THE LENGTH

Maintaining a person’s interest is difficult work (see ADHA reference above!). If you read your blog post aloud and don’t find that you are captivating YOURSELF, then there’s a problem. You can pepper your post with all the stylistic flair and photos in the world, but if the copy reads flat – it is flat. Time for a re-write.

After reading my wife’s paper to her, I asked her to return the favor. I had her read several of my own blog posts aloud, and I found room to improve each one. Reading your own work aloud is great, having someone else read your work aloud is even better.

I’m sure there are other benefits to reading your work aloud. Share your advice and feedback below.

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  1. By DeEtte posted on March 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm
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    So true! I have my 4th grade daughter read me her homework assignments and she always catches her mistakes.

    I will definitely implement this technique across all my sites and suggest it to my clients as well.

    Reply

  2. By WaistingTime posted on March 2, 2010 at 10:55 pm
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    I can read my blog post over and over again and still miss typos! I read what I think I wrote. Now my husband tells me if he finds an error, but only when he reads after I publish. I never thought to read aloud to myself.

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  3. By Adrienne posted on March 3, 2010 at 12:05 am
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    That’s why I read my posts aloud. I catch mistakes easier that way. It’s not fool proof but the alternative is much worse. I start reading like it should be read instead of what I’m actually reading.

    Reply

  4. By Garen posted on March 3, 2010 at 3:48 am
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    I always use firefoxes plugin “speaking fox” it is great because sometimes reading from the screen can be a chore in its self. That and sometimes hearing your writing out loud helps you proof your work better.

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  5. By Phil Neujahr posted on March 3, 2010 at 7:54 am
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    I love the fact that you have to explain some of these simplistic ideas. Spelling and grammar are such a mess in the typical blog. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  6. By dfn posted on March 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm
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    I use that strategy, too – especially if I am in a hurry and want to be to sure the blog post I´m just composing still makes sense and is not disfigured by typos. There is another feel to it if the sentences have a particular sound [on the downside I´m sometimes blamed for writing too stilted :-)]

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  7. By Chris posted on March 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm
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    Someone mentioned reading my blog posts aloud once on one of the comments on my blog, Since then I try to even print out my Blog posts and look at them before publishing. It is a hard practice to keep and takes some getting used to but well worth it.Garren spoke of the talking fox plugin which is a great idea

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  8. By ghd posted on March 4, 2010 at 9:49 am
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    I am notoriously bad at proofreading my own work, I miss grammer and spelling mistakes when ever I do it. I tried the read out loud technique and it does help. Especially as you mentioned at spotting missing punctuation. but I usually get my partner to give it the once over, she always catches something I miss, like the odd double character at the start of a wword :)

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  9. By timethief posted on March 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm
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    Thanks for the sound advice. What’s very difficult for visually challenged bloggers like me is that we may “preview” and “proofread” more than once and still find errors after publishing. I thank my lucky stars that I’m not color blind because the spellcheckers us the color “red” – what a stupid choice!

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