Have you been reading aloud lately? Have you ever used your lips to follow the shapes and sounds of letters, words, and phrases you read from a book? Have you tried using your crisp voice to interpret its own version of words such as paralysis, love, epitome, sauntering, and mien while experiencing a chilling sensation every intonation brings?
If your answer is no to all of these questions, then maybe it’s time to start reading aloud. And when I say aloud, I mean using your world-endowed voice and moving your lips to the tune of each word, each consonant, producing a sound so beautiful to your ears while every meaning is deciphered in your mind. Yes, that’s what I mean when I say aloud. Who says this is all child’s play?
Recently, I’ve been hanging out with my little cousin, and we’ve been reading together as a part of her summer reading exercises. As we sit together for at least 30 minutes, I listen to her read a story she chose, and well, from there, I am lost in the world not only led by the story but the reader herself. Even though we experience occasional pauses here and there and some mispronounced words, I still find the entire experience enthralling. These little sessions we had reminded me of my school days when reading aloud was something that I was excited about, and to an extent, it prompted me to think about and practice, once again, the act of reading aloud. Now, now, let me expound on this a little more.
Depending on what your motive is for reading, be it for isolation, for escapism, or for learning purposes (Now, I am roughly naming a few here), there is another way of enjoying a book in all its beauty and flaws: insert reading aloud as an option. The entire experience, based from my own, is characterized by the following: instead of only reading the words in your head, you actually hear yourself, your own voice, which adds a livelier and more theatrical (if you like to be all dramatic) presentation and engagement with the material you are reading; reading as a solitary experience can become an all-welcoming gathering with friends or family in late afternoons or evenings (even mornings over coffee!); in the long run, you are inadvertently practicing your public speaking/reading skills, because you learn to check yourself with the proper intonation and inflection and pronunciation (think of a free Speech and Reading 101 course); you are not only sharing your love for reading, but you are also enticing people to grab a book either because of the great writing by the author or your convincing voice and reading skills (or maybe both); and of course, at the end of the day, it provides a loud but clean enjoyment for yourself (or for your audience, if you are doing it for them).
All these I recommend but with a word of caution for those who will attempt this feat. Do not read aloud at 3 in the morning when someone else (other than your beautiful self) is present and half-asleep in your bedroom. It’s never a good idea for them to be awakened by your loud and emotionally charged voice, depending on where you are exactly on the book and what genre you are reading, well because you might find yourself as a recipient of a nightmarish scream. If it’s poetry your reading, then maybe it’ll have a different outcome.
So, the next time you decide to grab a book, use your lips and read aloud. Maybe in doing so, you’ll discover something within and in the book that you are reading. And as I always say, Happy Reading!