1. Find a comfortable place to read.
Getting comfortable helps you to relax the body and let go of any tension. It’s the best way to help words flow freely as you read aloud.
There are many ways to get comfortable. Try:
- Getting cosy on a day bed laden with cushions (Emily Barrett reads Today We Have No Plans)
- Chilling out on a banana lounge (Andrew Hansen reads What’s Wrong with the Wobbegong?)
- Finding a safe haven in a blow-up boat (Brian Nankervis reads Yak and Gnu)
2. Use your voice as a tool.
The voice can be varied in so many different ways to invoke all sorts of emotions and moods. We suggest playing with your voice while reading the same books over and over again until you discover what works for you. Here are a few starting points though:
- Vary the volume of your voice: Try speaking softly to create suspense or seriousness, or speak loudly to create excitement or importance.
- Vary the pace in which you speak: Try speaking slowly to create suspense or sadness, or speak quickly to create excitement or panic.
- Emphasise important words (particularly words that indicate emotions)
3. Props make for playful reading.
There is a dual-purpose to using props when reading aloud. The first is to engage children visually, the second is to assist in setting a scene or assisting the reader in finding character, especially when using puppets.
- See Little Dog make an appearance in a reading of Little Dog and the Christmas Wish
- Andrew Hansen gets into character with the help of some bright zinc application before reading What’s Wrong with the Wobbegong?
- Brian Nankervis finds himself inside a large blow-up dinghy, ready to read Yak and Gnu
4. Invite children to make connections with the story.
Children will gain so much more from a story if they can connect to it, but sometimes they need a little help in making the connections. Adults can model this by sharing a relevant story or anecdote of their own before starting a book. It’s also okay to stop mid-story to ask questions or ask for predictions. Pausing at times also allows children time to process the story and absorb the illustrations.
- Boori Monty Pryor is brilliant at checking in with children in his reading of Shake a Leg.
- Geraldine Cox and Lindy Burns both share engaging and personal anecdotes before reading Suri’s Wall and Goodnight Mice!.
5. Get kids involved in the reading.
‘The more the merrier’ is a phrase that applies accurately to storytelling. Asking children to join in is a wonderful way to help them engage with a story. You might ask them to turn the pages for you, help you read words that are repeated throughout a story, call out any sound effects from the book or play an instrument to complement the storytelling.
We recommend viewing:
- Rusty Berther reading Pig Dude for well-executed sound effects.
- Sally Rippin and Valanga Khoza reading (and singing) Gezani and the Tricky Baboon.
Visit the Story Box Library website or blog for more tips on reading aloud. You can find a selection of Story Box Library sample videos here.