Read Aloud

Read Aloud

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Part 1: Speaking

READ ALOUD

Made Easy

  • Preparation time: 30–40 seconds
  • Time to read the text aloud : 30–40 seconds
  • Number of these tasks: 6 -7

In read aloud tasks, you read a short text out loud. How well you can do this shows how well you understand the text.

Look at the text below. In 40 seconds, you must read this text aloud as naturally and clearly as possible. You have 40 seconds to read aloud.

Astronomers have recently discovered a large cloud of gas, in which many new stars are being formed, not far from our own solar system. While it would seem surprising that this phenomenon hadn’t been previously noticed, the researchers explained that recent innovations in measuring the distance of gas clouds more accurately led to this discovery after older observations were reinterpreted.

  • Reading
    up to 28 points
  • Speaking
    up to 27 points

Top Strategies for Success in Read Aloud

You can improve your fluency, and get a better score, by learning about pauses, linking, intonation, and English rhythm.

Split your sentences into sense groups

In the above task, the first part of the starting sentence is a sense group:
‘Astronomers have recently discovered a large cloud of gas… This is a sense group built around the verb ‘discovered’. One word in this group is stressed more than the others (‘gas’) because this is the focus of the group.

We don’t pause between the words in a group when speaking. However, we usually leave a very short pause after one sense group before starting a new one. Pausing makes it easier for people to understand you because you can show you have finished an idea.

Speak with a good rhythm

In English, not every word or syllable is pronounced equally. Some words are pronounced weakly or disappear completely. We stress the words which carry the important information. This has an effect on rhythm patterns. There should be an equal amount of time between each stressed syllable. For example, if you say She has an interesting house or She has a big house, they should both take the same time. The word ‘interesting’ is pronounced so that it seems to only have three syllables and takes the same time to say as ‘big’.

Practise linking

This is the smooth joining together of words within a sense group. For example, in ‘have recently discovered’, all three words are pronounced together without pausing.

To link vowel sounds together, use a y or w sound (e.g. theyend, Iyam or toowoften, whowis).

Use intonation

The tone of your voice should usually fall at the end of each sense group.

If two things are contrasted, the first usually has rising intonation and the other usually has falling intonation. In lists, each item usually has rising intonation except for the last, which has falling intonation.

  • Practice Tips
    Follow To Succeed
  • Record yourself on your mobile phone or other device as you practise reading aloud. Listen afterwards to your stress, intonation, rhythm and linking. If possible, compare the parts you found difficult to say with a fluent English speaker.
  • Pay attention to meaning while reading. If you understand the main idea of a text and which words carry the key information, you will sound more natural.
  • Learning academic vocabulary really helps with these tasks. Research shows that an excellent way to improve your vocabulary is to do lots of reading and listening on a range of different topics.
  • Find short texts from websites or in books. Mark a / (slash) after each sense group. Then read them, practising intonation, stress and rhythm as above.
  • Create lists of multi-syllable words. This can help you learn these patterns as well as the words themselves. For example, they could be in a table with words with a stressed first syllable in one column and words with a stressed second syllable in the next column, and so on.
  • Language focus
  • Some words carry less weight than others when we read. Words like to, of, on, they, have are not usually stressed by a speaker and are shorter and quieter when you hear them. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs usually sound stronger and louder.
  • Also practise placing the stress on the correct part of words, e.g. compensated, recently, discovered, information.

BEFORE READING ALOUD

Use the preparation time to look carefully at what you need to read and practise reading the text aloud.
• Most importantly, think about meaning– this will make it easier to read aloud naturally.
Look at where to group the words into sense groups, to help you use stress, intonation and linking effectively.
Pay careful attention to how and where you will apply intonation, rhythm and pauses. The commas and full stops will help a lot!
Think about which words to stress. These are usually the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs which carry important information.

Arrow right

WHILE READING ALOUD

Imagine you’re speaking to a friendly audience.
Ignore other people in the room. Don’t let their speaking distract you.
Speak normally– not too quiet, too loud, too fast or too slow. This should be the same volume as in the microphone check at the beginning of your test.
Pay attention to the meaning of what you’re reading. If you focus carefully on what the text means, it’s easier to use appropriate stress and intonation.
Try not to worry about words you don’t know. Use your best guess at their pronunciation. If you focus too much on these words, you might sound unnatural.

Remember, What To Do What Not To Do In Read Aloud

Practise Read Aloud 2 here, if you want to try Read aloud without a time limit. Think about the strategies mentioned above. Then follow the task instructions and record your response on your mobile phone or other device.

Look at the text below. In 40 seconds, you must read this text aloud as naturally and clearly as possible. You have 40 seconds to read aloud.

Project management is an area of growing importance across many fields, from engineering and information technology through to education and marketing. Therefore, if you study this exciting subject, you will be opening the doors to a career with plenty of variety and excellent opportunities.

1. Play back and listen to your response. Use the checklist below to decide what you did well and what you need to practise more. Set aside time to work on each area that you want to improve.

2. Listen to a model answer for this task. Compare it to your own response. What are the differences? Are you happy with your response? What could you improve?

Common Mistakes Problems Errors In Read Aloud

You have a chance to check your microphone at the beginning. During all speaking tasks, keep your microphone the same distance from your mouth as it was during the microphone check. Also, speak at the same volume (not louder, not quieter).

Don’t click ‘Next’ too soon. Only move on to the next task when you are sure you are finished with the current one. You can’t go back to these tasks to try again.

Most Repeated Read Aloud Questions in 2024

1. When countries assess their annual carbon dioxide emissions, they count up their cars and power stations, but bush fires are not included – presumably because they are deemed to be events beyond human control. In Australia, Victoria alone sees several hundred thousand hectares burn each year; in both 2004 and more recently, the figure has been over 1 million hectares.

2. Every morning, no matter how late he had been up, my father rose at five-thirty, went to his study, wrote for a couple of hours, made us all breakfast, read the paper with my mother, and then went back to work for the rest of the morning. Many years passed before I realized that he did this for a living.

3. Research has shown that the gut microbiome is important for human physiology and health. Disturbances to the composition of the gut microbiome can be associated with chronic diseases such as gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders, and neurological, cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. The human body has evolved strategies to ensure that a symbiotic relationship exists between the microbes in our gut and our cells.

4. Many papers you write in college will require you to include quotes from one or more sources. Even if you don’t have to do it, integrating a few quotes into your writing can add life and persuasiveness to your arguments. The key is to use quotes to support a point you’re trying to make rather than just include them to fill space.

5. There are perhaps three ways of looking at furniture: some people see it as purely functional and useful, and don’t bother themselves with aesthetics; others see it as essential to civilized living and concern themselves with design and how the furniture will look in a room. In other words, function combined with aesthetics; and yet others see furniture as a form of art.

6. Humans need to use energy in order to exist. So it is unsurprising that the way people have been producing energy is largely responsible for current environmental problems. Pollution comes in many forms, but those that are most concerning, because of their impact on health, result from the combustion of fuels in power stations and cars.

Quick Tips Strategies For Better Score!

You have 30-40 seconds to look at the text before the microphone opens, so use this time to break the text up into meaningful chunks, using the punctuation as a guide. This will show you the places where you can make a tiny pause and alter your intonation - going up when you begin reading a chunk and falling a little when you end a chunk.

Using appropriate pausing helps you to read more fluently and give the full meaning of the text. This will improve your score. Look at where the pauses [ / ] are indicated in the example:

Photography's gaze widened during the early years of the twentieth century / and, / as the snapshot camera became increasingly popular, / the making of photographs became increasingly available / to a wide cross-section of the public. / The British people grew accustomed to, / and were hungry for, / the photographic image.

When you read the text, stress the words that help to convey meaning, by reading them in a slightly louder voice and adding emphasis to key syllables, e.g., development. Also, use rising and falling intonation patterns to show how the ideas are linked or are coming to an end. Look at the patterns in this text; the stressed words are underlined, and the rising and falling intonation is marked by up ↗️ and down ↘️ arrows:

The development of easy-to-use statistical software ↘️ has changed the way statistics is being taught and learned ↘️. Students can make transformations of variables ↗️, create graphs of distributions of variables ↗️, and select among statistical analyses ↘️ all at the click of a button ↘️. However ⬆️, with these advancements ↘️, students sometimes find statistics to be an arduous task ↘️.

Your score on Read Aloud is based on three factors:

Content: Does your response include all the words in the reading text and only these words?

Content is scored by counting the number of correct words in your response. Replacements insertions and omissions of words will negatively affect your score.

Oral fluency: Does your response demonstrate a smooth, effortless and natural rate of speech?

Oral fluency is scored by determining if your rhythm, phrasing and stress are smooth. The best responses are spoken at a constant and natural rate of speech with appropriate phrasing. Hesitations, repetitions and false starts will negatively affect your score.

Pronunciation: Does your response demonstrate your ability to produce speech sounds in a similar way to most regular speakers of the language?

Pronunciation is scored by determining if your speech is easily understandable to most regular speakers of the language. The best responses contain vowels and consonants pronounced in a native-like way, and stress words and phrases correctly. Responses should also be immediately understandable to a regular speaker of the language.

PTE Academic recognizes regional and national varieties of English pronunciation to the degree that they are understandable to most regular speakers of the language.

Note
• This item type affects the scoring of the following: reading, speaking, oral fluency and pronunciation.
• Your listening and writing skills are not tested by this item type.
• For more information download the Score Guide.

Look at the text below. In 40 seconds, you must read this text aloud as naturally and clearly as possible. You have 40 seconds to read aloud.

Astronomers have recently discovered a large cloud of gas, in which many new stars are being formed, not far from our own solar system. While it would seem surprising that this phenomenon hadn’t been previously noticed, the researchers explained that recent innovations in measuring the distance of gas clouds more accurately led to this discovery after older observations were reinterpreted.

English Speaker’s Response

Listen to the three sample answers for this task. Each recording provides an example of a response given by test takers at a C1, B2 or B1 competence level.

Feedback:

◾ The test taker reads fluently at a natural speed and groups words together in a way that makes the meaning of the text clear. This shows that she has understood the content of the paragraph.
◾ The speaker places additional emphasis on gas, stars and surprising, to further help our understanding. Word stress and sentence stress (the pattern of stressed and unstressed words across a sentence) are correct.
◾ The test taker’s pronunciation is native-like, making it easy for us to understand every word.
◾ No words are replaced or missed out.

Feedback:

◾ The test taker reads the text at a natural pace. All words are pronounced accurately. No words are added, replaced or missed out.
◾ He uses appropriate intonation for the first half of the text, but has struggled with the rest. The test taker reads less fluently and groups words together in a way that does not make the meaning of the text clear. As a result, pausing and intonation are less appropriate in the second half of the text.
◾ This contrasts with the way Sample Answer 1 has appropriately grouped words. Inappropriate grouping of words means it is likely that the speaker has not fully understood the sentence.
◾ There are also three hesitations: one in front of phenomenon, one after measuring and a third before reinterpreted.

Feedback:

◾ The test taker struggles to read the paragraph aloud. She speaks slowly and is clearly trying to sound as natural as possible. The speaker uses incorrect intonation, which refers to the voice rising or falling. This makes it difficult for us to understand the content of the paragraph.
◾ The test taker pronounces the words correctly, but places incorrect word stress on words such as astronomers, solar system, phenomenon and researchers, which are probably not known to the speaker.
◾ From the reading performance it becomes clear that the test taker did not understand the meaning of the paragraph. This is, however, natural at B1 level as this text contains a lot of higher-level vocabulary, e.g. solar system, phenomenon, previously, researchers, innovations, accurately, discovery, observations, reinterpreted.

In this worksheet, you are going to practise word stress, notice how words are grouped together and recognise where to pause when reading aloud.

1. It is important to be familiar with the task type and understand the instructions. Answer the questions about the Read aloud task. 

1. What will you read aloud?_______________________________________________

2. What skills are tested?__________________________________________________

3. How much preparation time will you get?_______________________________

4. What three things will you see on the screen?__________________________

5. When do you start speaking?___________________________________________

6. What is the status when the progress bar reaches the end?____________

7. How long are the texts? _________________________________________________

2. It is important to be familiar with how the Read aloud task looks on screen and what the technical requirements are. Look at the diagram and label the items you will see on screen. Use the words in the box.

1. __________________________________________________________________________________

2. __________________________________________________________________________________

3. __________________________________________________________________________________

4. __________________________________________________________________________________

5. __________________________________________________________________________________

6. __________________________________________________________________________________

3. You might feel distracted before or during the test. Match common test taker concerns 1–4 with the advice in a–d.

4. You have 30–40 seconds of preparation time for the Read aloud task. Tick (✅) four strategies that you think would be useful.

Words are composed of syllables or parts which make up the whole word, for example academic has four syllables: ac-a-dem-ic

5. Rewrite the words to show the syllables. Use a good online dictionary to check your answers.

  • development de-vel-op-ment
  • transformation .............................................
  • statistical .............................................
  • distribution .............................................
  • advancement .............................................

When you read a word aloud, you need to stress one syllable. In the word academic, the stressed syllable is underlined.

6. Look at the words in Exercise 5 and underline the syllable you think is stressed. Then use an online dictionary to listen to the pronunciation of the words and check your answers.

When you read a sentence aloud, you should stress the key words, the words that you want to emphasise for effect or meaning.

7.1. Read the text and highlight the words that need to be stressed.

The development of easy-to-use statistical software has changed the way statistics is being taught and learnt. Students can make transformations of variables, create graphs of distributions of variables, and select among statistical analyses all at the click of a button. However, even with these advancements, students sometimes still fi nd statistics to be an arduous task.

7.2. Listen and check your answers. Then practise reading the text aloud.

Another way to sound natural when reading aloud is to pause in appropriate places. Punctuation such as commas can show you where to pause. We pause after groups of words, so that meaning can be more easily understood.

8. Read the text in Exercise 7.1 again and put a  / where you think would be a natural place to pause. The first sentence has been done for you. You can pause in different places depending on the meaning and effect you want.

The development / of easy-to-use statistical software / has changed the way statistics / is being taught / and learnt.

9.1. Practise reading the text aloud. Then record yourself.

Photography’s gaze widened during the early years of the twentieth century, and as the snapshot camera became increasingly popular, the making of photographs became increasingly available to a wide cross-section of the public. The British public grew accustomed to, and were hungry for, the photographic image.

9.2. Listen to a test taker read the text and use the checklist to compare your performance. Tick (✅) the things you did well.

10. Find some texts from a book/article (online) and record yourself reading aloud. Use the checklist in Exercise 9.2 to assess your performance.