Monday, June 1, 2009

Your Voice is a Symphony

We probably all remember the adults who read us stories when we were young and managed to turn the most exciting books into absolute yawners. Why was that? What did they do that made our favorite books so dull? How can I keep from putting my young listeners to sleep, or worse yet, turn my attentive group into unmanageable rug-rollers?

Think of it this way. Can you imagine a symphony concert where all the instruments played at the same volume and the same tempo throughout the piece of music? Where there was no distinction between the horns and the strings and the percussion? Your voice, when you read aloud to children, is a symphony. The different characters in the book are the different instruments. Papa Bear sounds different from Mama Bear and Baby Bear. The rising action of the plot brings a different tempo, faster at the climax, slower as things calm down. The varying emotions of the story bring out the dynamics. Goldilocks is quiet as she lifts the latch and tiptoes into the house. Papa Bear is LOUD when he demands to know who's been sitting in his chair.

Conduct your voice as an instrument. Bring out all the nuances of characters, tempo and dynamics, and your young listeners, whether it's your own child at bedtime, or a group of six-year-olds will beg you to read it AGAIN!

1 comment:

bridget in oregon said...

So, so, true!

I think that later in life this becomes 'quiet proof' of a good storyteller — remembering the storyteller's voice along with their animation and their body language. And when you remember the details of a teacher or a parent who read to you and where YOU were in that world... well, it's just priceless.

(So thank you, Mrs. Hoffman, 4th grade teacher, Edgewood Elementary school, circa 1971... where ever you are!)