As a language teacher, I believe reading aloud should be used more in foreign language learning. Whether you are learning English as a second language or another language, reading aloud is a simple way to learn faster and better. And it is easy to do by yourself, in your own home!
Reading aloud can help your pronunciation. Even if you already know how to pronounce the language pretty well, it is hard to fit your mouth and tongue around the foreign sounds. Reading aloud gives your vocal organs the exercise they need to speak without getting tired or stumbling. If you are still fuzzy on pronunciation, use texts with recordings on CD or MP3 files, and repeat after the native speakers. But following along in the book will give you added input over simply listening and repeating. Try to copy the intonation and rhythm as well. You will be using eyes, ears, vocal apparatus, and of course, brain -- all at once!
Reading aloud will also help you improve your vocabulary and use of idioms. Reading is the best way to learn a lot of words, and reading aloud will cement them into your memory more. Find stories at your reading level in the language, and try to read aloud at least 15 minutes a day. Thirty minutes a day is even better. If you are at the level of newspapers, novels, or magazines, try to read something different every day for more variety in vocabulary. But even reading your textbook conversations and dialogs is very useful.
Reading aloud will also help you to learn grammar. When we study grammar rules, we may understand them. However, simply knowing rules does not mean you will be able to use them. When you read aloud, you slow down your reading to a speaking pace. So you naturally are able to absorb the structures more. The more you practice, the more the grammar of the language will feel natural. And since you are reading texts with perfect grammar (we hope!), you will be practicing perfect grammar. You won't learn mistakes, so reading aloud will help you learn your foreign language much better.
Reading aloud will also help you to improve your foreign language spelling and punctuation, and thus your writing. When you read aloud, your slower pace will make you notice the spelling more. You should also try to read with proper expression and meaning. That way, you have to observe the punctuation conventions, which are probably different from your native language. So, if you read aloud in a foreign language for 15 to 30 minutes per day, you will be sure to improve your pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and writing. And you can accomplish all this alone in the comfort of your own home!