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iloveacting's avatar

I need some tips on how to better read aloud. Any ideas?

Asked by iloveacting (80points) July 16th, 2010

So night at 5 I will be reading about a chapter from It (by Stephen King) for Pat French. Now, I’m not the best at reading aloud, right, so does anyone have some tips or links to websites that could help me improve? I know I can’t improve in 4 hours, but it will give me a start (and I am also looking for sites).

Here is a little background on Pat to explain why this is so important for me. Pat French is now an acting teacher (and probably the best, at least in Washington). She used to be on the radio and tv (she was the Red Tag Lady (the older generation on here may know of her)) and she had met will many people, such as Jimmy Stewart and he gave her advice too. Pat is married to Jim French. He used to produce old time radio shows (Jim French Productions) but I believe he is now retired.

Now, I want to become a famous actress and get i the business, right, and these are some of the people who will really be able to help me. This is why it is so important that I am able to read aloud really well, because obviously for radio shows you have to be able to read from a script fluently.

So I am really asking for you’re help and I would very, VERY much appriciate it if you gave me some tips and sites to help.

Thank you.

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18 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think the best thing you can do is practice and pace yourself. Focus on reading slowly and try not to speed up if you get nervous.

Jeruba's avatar

1. Practice it several times. If you can record yourself and play it back, that will teach you some things.

2. If there is any way that you can get the text of the chapter into a Word file without transcribing the whole thing, print it out in larger print, with 1½ line or double spacing, to make it easier to see and not lose your place.

3. Mark the text for emphasis and pauses. An underline will do for emphasis, and a slash for a slight pause. This will help you keep the sense of it as you read.

4. Look for any place where the visual cue you get may not come through to the listener—such as where there’s a transition from narrative to dialogue without a dialogue tag (such as “he said”), and especially for places where there are alternating speakers without dialogue tags. On the page you can see the line breaks and the quotation marks. Adjust your delivery so the audience can hear them, and if necessary insert an extra “Andrew said” or “Janice asked” just to make it clear.

5. If there are any words you aren’t sure how to pronounce, look them up ahead of time and mark the pronunciation on the page.

6. Glance up as you read and make eye contact with members of the audience. This involves reading ahead a little, a phrase at a time. Practice this.

7. Speak up. Speak louder than you think you should. It won’t seem so loud to others.

Reading aloud, of course, involves some interpretation (expression) in your delivery and not just parroting the words. Don’t overdo it—don’t act it out or try to do character voices. But do animate your voice a bit, in keeping with the tone of the narrative. Nobody can listen to a monotone for long.

Cruiser's avatar

Don’t be afraid to be animated and “act” while you are reading. Most voice over people I know really get into the part and you would think they were on stage with all their arm movements and pacing around. So let the movement and emotions flow through you as you read. You need to let your voice become the actor of the story! Annunciation to your best ability too with crisp punctuations. My kids used to love to have me read to them at bed time as I was usually pretty over the top with my reading…it made it all the more fun for me too!

Jeruba's avatar


iloveacting's avatar

she will also be giving me something to read but I dont know what, so what should I do there, because I won’t have time to prepare for that.

Jeruba's avatar

If she wants to see how you handle a reading without preparation, you can only prepare in a general way. Don’t waste your time trying to anticipate that. Slow down, read clearly, and try to get the meaning as you read. Let your voice reflect the meaning.

With only a few hours’ prep time, spend it on preparing what you can prepare. That will build your confidence, and your confidence will help you with the spontaneous reading.

iloveacting's avatar

@Jeruba thank you sooo much that really helps

Jeruba's avatar

Also carefully choose what you wear, not to impress your audience (if it’s for radio) but to give you confidence. Pick an outfit you feel good in and can relax in—nothing you need to watch out for, tug up or down, adjust, keep straight, nothing that makes you wobble, nothing that’s too tight or constricting, nothing that jingles or makes noise. And make sure you don’t have to keep fussing with your hair, like putting it out of your face. Think professional, not glamorous.

Jeruba's avatar


I just went to Amazon and looked at the first pages of the book. One of the characters stutters. That’s hard to fake. Don’t overdo it, but do give it a little extra practice.

Make sure you can say the names. Denbrough. Kenduskeag. Bangor.

There are some long, dense paragraphs there. Stay calm and take it a sentence at a time.

Regard the marks of punctuation. They offer a lot of guidance.

erikaziger's avatar

I have a BFA in acting. Here is my advice: SLOW DOWN.

iloveacting's avatar

i’m reading the part where the little boy loses the boat

Jeruba's avatar

Do come back and tell us how this audition went.

tranquilsea's avatar

You could join and read a few chapters. Upload them and the members there will gently encourage and help you become a better reader.

Frteach's avatar

How did it go? Did you feel good about yourself???

iloveacting's avatar

Well it wasn’t really like an audition, but more of a class. we didnt get to reading the book, but she gave me a commercial script (7 up—the “un” cola) to cold read through (which I suck at, so I need to work on that). She is an AMAZING teacher and I am going to be going back once a week. She is so nice (and so is her husband Jim (I met him momentarily, but he is great)) and I know I’ll benefit a lot from her. Thank you all for your help and I’m going to practice reading aloud now so I can be prepared and just be able to do it in general. Thank you all!

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for the update, @iloveacting. Improving your fluency by practice will definitely help you sight-read new material. Good luck pursuing your ambition.

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