Oral - 3 Tips for Reading Aloud

This week marks the start of the SA1 Oral component for many of our P6 students. In the next few weeks, our P4 students will also be having their SA1 Oral.

In today’s blog post, I will focus on the Reading Aloud portion of the Oral component.

These tips apply to students of every level.

What are the criteria that students are tested on for Reading Aloud and how can they excel in this portion?



1) Pronunciation

Clear Articulation & Consistently Good Pronunciation


Pronounce your end consonants clearly.

For example, the /s/ in the word ‘gifts‘, the /t/ in the word ‘project‘, the /d/ in the word ‘showed‘.


Pronounce the /th/ accurately.

Many times, students pronounce the /th/ sound like a /d/ sound. For example, the word ‘mother’ is often pronounced as ‘mah-der’.

During individual Oral testing in class, I will remind my students to highlight words in the reading passage with /th/ in them and advise them to practice reading aloud these words at home.


Know the difference between long & short vowels

Students should take note of the difference between words with long and short vowels. For example, ‘fat’ & ‘fate’, ‘sit’ & ‘seat’.


Take note of tricky words often found in the PSLE Oral Reading passages

Words such as ‘gasped’, ‘mischievous’, ‘chaos’, and ‘yacht’ appear in the PSLE reading passages. These words (and more) are there to trip up a student. To prevent this from happening during examinations, study the different reading passages and take note of these words.



2) Expressiveness & Fluency

Fluent, expressive reading, varying tone, pace, and volume


Well-paced reading

Do not read the passage too fast or too slow. Reading the passage too fast can cause the student to stumble over certain words, meaning a loss of marks. Reading the passage too slowly can come off as the student lacking confidence.


Pause at the right moment

Pause at full-stops and commas. I often tell my students to pause to the count of 2 when they see a full stop and to the count of 1 when they see a comma.

Pause before a connector such as ‘but’ or ‘and’ to the count of 1.



3) Appropriateness of Voice Quality

Appropriate stress and intonation to convey meaning


Read the passage with feeling

Right from the very first word, the student should read the passage with feeling. I often tell my students to imagine that the way they read can be seen on a heart monitor. If they do not add on appropriate stress and intonation by making sure that their voices go up and down, then the heart monitor would show a flat line. And no one wants to flatline during their Oral examination.


Stress on certain words

Certain words in the passage should be stressed to convey the message of the passage. For example,

Mrs. Rama was shocked by the chaos in her class.

The words in bold should be read louder and with more feeling to indicate the message in the sentence.


Direct Speech

Most PSLE reading aloud passages have direct speech in them. This is included to test the student’s ability to convey the correct feeling of the characters in the passage.

Students reading should change their pitch and tone, depending on whether the direct speech is reflecting excitement, fear, or sadness.

Now, that students are aware of what to look out for in the Reading Aloud portion of your oral component, remember the following points:

Use the 5 minutes given to prepare well. Take note of the things that you need to look out for.

Read your passage aloud quietly (in order not to disturb the student being tested nearby) during the 5 minutes, so that you will feel confident when you sit in front of the examiner.

Read passages found in Oral assessment books or the PSLE Booklet aloud to your family members or tutors to gain confidence.

Primary 6 English tuition class schedule

DayStart timeEnd time
Wednesday - FULL3.00 pm5.00 pm
Wednesday - FULL5.00 pm7.00 pm
Saturday - FULL9.00 am11.00 am
Saturday - FULL11.00 am1.00 pm

Categories: PSLE Oral