For learners of English as a second language, reading English aloud is not easy because there are no real rules for pronunciation of the various vowel sounds. For example, the verb ‘read’, as in ‘I like to read the news every morning,’ is spelt the same way in the present and past tenses but the pronunciation changes; so we say, ‘I read the news this morning.’ There is no way to know the pronunciation unless you’ve heard it first. Any English language course which focusses too heavily on the use of books is likely to enable its students to read in silence but they will, most likely, have great difficulties when it comes to speaking English - and I have never met a learner who told me they only want to read and write. Most people say they want to learn to speak other languages.
In this sense, learning English can be like learning a language which has a completely different set of letters or characters from your own. We need to treat learning to speak and learning to read and write as quite different tasks. As we learn, we can start to see some patterns emerge and we can also start to see words that don’t follow the same patterns.
Doing something ‘by the book’ is an expression that means that we follow the rules precisely. Learning English ‘by the book’ however is not so easy.