Friday, May 13, 2011

Say It Loud: Tips on Reading Aloud

Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along to read our writing out loud. For those of us who are not professional speakers or performers, this can be a daunting task. But reading aloud, when it's done well, taps into the ancient part of us that likes to hear a story, whether whether we're being tucked into bed or sitting around a campfire or gathered with others at a book signing or open mic event.

Should you find yourself with an opportunity to read aloud from your work, here are some tips that might help:

*Practice reading your selection out loud. See if there are words or sentences that cause you to stumble. If you can, make an audio or video recording of yourself. Do you mumble, or speak in a monotone, or swallow the ends of your sentences? Are your words pronounced clearly?

*Take your time, and remember to breathe.

*Be familiar with the passage. You don't have to memorize it, but know it well enough so that you don't have to stare at the paper and can glance up and have some eye contact with your audience.

*Let your vocal tone and facial expression match what you're reading. If the story is funny, smile. If it's sad or angry, let your face reflect that.

*Have a glass of water handy. Some readers like to suck on a cough drop before the reading, but it's probably best to be finished with it by the time you start, lest it fly out of your mouth or down your windpipe in a dramatic moment.

*If you make a mistake, stumble, drop your paper, etc. don't apologize profusely. Just calmly pick up where you left off.

If you're in the Sandpoint area on May 18 (third Wednesday of the month), try out your verbal skills at Five Minutes of Fame, held at Cafe Bodega at Foster's Crossing, 504 Oak Street. 6:30 p.m., 208-263-5911

Also on tap this weekend:

Eric Greitens, a Rhodes scholar who became a U.S. Navy SEAL, will narrate a Powerpoint presentation of his book, The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane on Saturday, 5/14 at 1:00 p.m.

Also at Auntie's, Science fiction author Larry Correia will sign copies of his books, including his latest, Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles, from 3 to 5 on Saturday, 5/14.

And remember that Booker's Dozen is now on display at the Coeur d'Alene Library through May 27.


Jennifer Rova said...

Jenny, thanks for the tips and for the book signings. I like to go to hear books on interesting topics or especially to support a fellow writer I know. Also on tap is the U.S. Air Force Wind Ensemble at the CdA library, Sunday 2-3:30, donations accepted, no reservation required.

Kathy Cooney Dobbs said...

What an interesting topic ! I enjoy reading aloud, and listening to others read aloud - especially my mother. From the time my brother and i were very young mother read poetry aloud to us.