Monday, November 21, 2011

Do You Ever Read Aloud?

I read aloud to my son every night. He LOVES stories and it's always a battle to finish story time. He'd make me read all night if he could.

As I was reading last night, adding accents and varied tones to make it fun, it suddenly struck me how much I was getting out of the experience. I was bringing the story to life. It made me realize just how important reading aloud really is.

I remember reading once, that it is essential to read your finished work out loud. The flow of the work becomes obvious, the punctuation jumps out at you (especially if it's wrong) and the dialogue can be tweaked and perfected until you have a conversation that could be acted out in a movie.

When I read, I often hear each word in my head. I know, that makes me incredibly slow sometimes, but it does make me a good proofreader and mistakes are often glaringly obvious to me.

It's harder to pick up mistakes in my own work, of course, because I know what I want it to say, but reading aloud helps me with this.

Reading aloud also helps me touch on the right emotion. If I verbally act out my dialogue, I know the tone I want to portray. I can easily imagine movements that will add to the mood of the scene and it makes it easier for me to place the characters in an appropriate setting. For some reason, hearing the dialogue works for me.

What works for you?
Do you read your work aloud?


  1. I always read my work aloud--usually multiple times--during editing and proofreading. And my daughter (who's a gifted writer) reads my work. Her mind actually translates what she reads so that she hears it in her mind, complete with accents, etc., so she's a huge help for keeping each character's voice honest.

  2. Isn't it awesome having talented people around you that can help. Your daughter sounds like a star - when are we going to see some of her work :)

  3. Great post. A good reminder, as I'm not sure I always do this.

  4. It can be embarrassing sometimes. I always make sure I'm closed up in my office so no one can hear me :)

  5. Its amazing how wrong something can sound out loud, when it made perfect sense in your head!

  6. I read to my girls for years until they wanted to read the book faster than story time allowed. I always read my own work back, especially if I'm stuck on a scene.

  7. I actually love reading aloud to my kids. I'll be sad when it ends.

  8. Such a good reminder. I need to read out loud more often and I think it is important to remember to do it with our WIP's as well for exactly the reasons you said. :) Glad you shared this.

  9. I SHOULD read it outloud but don't always! I find it incredibly embarrassing and feel self-conscious for some reason!

    1. hi i like to use your quote in my essay that im writing for my english class, but i need your real name so i can quote it in my essay. teachers orders:/ sorry i don't mean to be a pain. thanks

  10. Not only reading out loud, record it and listen to it. Now that is an experience that'll change your MS! lol

    Love this post!

  11. Tanya - recording myself and listening to it sounds way too scary :)

    Little Gumnut - I totally get the embarrassment issue. That's why I only ever read aloud to myself when I'm all alone ;)

    Abby - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Sharing ideas is one of the best things about blogging :)

  12. Hi Melissa,

    I found your blog through YA Highway earlier today and I've been reading through your posts. I've never read aloud, but that's mostly because I live with a roommate and I get embarrassed :). But it's definitely something I should try.

    Anyways, my name's Kate, and I'm an agented YA author from Utah. Just thought I'd introduce myself. Looking forward to more of your posts!

  13. Hi Kate - it's nice to meet you. Thanks introducing yourself. That's so cool you have an agent. I look forward to seeing your work in the future :)

  14. I noticed an Anonymous comment pop up on my email this morning asking if they could quote from my blog. I can't see it in this feed, which is weird, but the person is more than welcome to.

    My full name is Melissa Pearl Guyan.

    Good luck with your essay :)