One of my favorite classes in college involved learning how to read picture books out loud to children. Yes, and we did get credit for doing so. This class gave me real life skills. For true.
I learned there is a proper way to hold the book when facing the audience.
- First of all, sitting down facing your audience, you hold the book’s bottom spine stretched out on your forearm.
*By the way if you are looking for a dazzling, scintillating meme-worthy Prezi, it ain’t happening*
- You then read sidewise, yet facing your audience because eye contact is quite important. This is easier than it sounds because picture books usually have more illustration than words.
- It is then important to properly turn the page. This is done by reaching over and across the top of the book, sliding the first two fingers done the present page and the next, and pulling the page over for the next spread. NOTE: though commonly practiced, it is not in the best interest in the book’s wear to turn from the middle bottom, especially towards the inside spine. Rippage and tearage can occur in doing so.
- Proceed throughout the entire book in the proscribed method.
- It is also important to use appropriate voices for characters, and it can be highly desirable to create separate voices for each given character. NOTE: characterization voices are best done by those who can do so without creating havoc among the audience. For example: if your Cockney mouse is such a smash hit your audience might laugh to the point of interfering with the story’s progress.
- Body language is also important. Leaning in to emphasize special junctures, or pausing for same can add a delightful amount of drama and dimension to the story.
I believe the course to be quite edifying and suggest signing up should the adult education flyer come through the mail. Today I utilize those skills reading to the grandkiddo, although I use my snuggle reading skills instead. I have read stories to my high school students. Yes, that is one reason I am known as the weird English teacher.
Then again, there are those who possess natural skill at reading and technique does not actually matter. Case in point is our boy Sherlock.
Have you a favorite technique for reading stories? Or better yet–any famous readers you’ve come across? One of my most favorites is Meryl Streep’s audio book reading of Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter.