"To read with a loud and full tone, to pronounce every syllable properly and distinctly, and to mind the pauses;---are the three most difficult points to be gained in making good readers." -The Original McGuffey's Eclectic Fourth Reader
In the Pronunciation Project, I talked about encouraging our kids to use their voices masterfully whether they're speaking or reading. Today, I'd like us to look at language ---and, once again, to marvel at that great instrument we carry around with us every day---our voices.
One of the neat things about reading to our kids is the opportunity to play with things like tone, pitch, and rate. For instance, as we read to young children, we might introduce an especially menacing character slowly and a little lower in our vocal register, or we might increase the rate of speech as the action peaks. These are great ways to teach our kids how to be good readers and how to play with the musicality of language.
Think of music for a minute. Students become aware of rhythm, volume and repetition. Same with reading and story telling. At moments of suspense, we may speed up our speech, then pause. Music also makes use of pauses and silence.
I encourage you to keep reading to your kids, and allow them to regularly read aloud. As they do, be sure to give them lots of praise, and be very patient as they experiment with pronunciation.
We don't need to be formal as we teach these nuances in language. Proper elocution isn't something that kids need to necessarily work on --- it's something that can be taught vicariously as you read to them, and as you allow them to have opportunities to experiment with language. When you have a moment, please see the blogs Reading Aloud, Little Ones In the House, and Good Communication.
Meanwhile, keep snuggling on the couch to read!
God bless you today.