I have always thought
that the actions of men are
the best interpreters of their thoughts
John Locke 1632 - 1704
Reading and research series
Interpretive or dramatic reading
Basically the reader is sharing an interpretation of an author
audience, literally read and not memorized.
- Selections include stories, essays, speeches, raps, plays and scenes of
- The reader communicates meaning and emotions to the listener,
relying only on the spoken word through reading,
without props, costumes, lighting or sound effects, or other devices
including digital presentations, or wandering about a stage
- The reader assumes the identity of a character and portrays the dramatic,
physical and emotional aspects of this character or of the situation
- External music or sound effects are to be avoided unless critical to the
- Stools and podiums for scripts may be used
- If there are several characters,
each is identified through voice
changes, gestures, and posture
- If there are more than one reader,
there is no physical or eye contact
between readers as in a play
Interpretive reading begins with a good understanding of the material
- The selection is focused and not too complex that the audience can
identify with and understand it in one presentation
- The piece stands on its own: does it sound right? Will it be
- What is the (your) emotional connection;
how does it affect your
reading and interpretation?
Once a reading is selected, analyze and study its sequence of thought:
- Summarize the general theme, or dominant meaning, you wish to convey
- Visualize or imagine a word picture that will help you relate
experience with the reading
What will be your introduction?
Capture the audience's attention, and set the stage for
point of view, context, etc.
- From what work is this selection taken? What is the title? Who is the
- What is the context, and role of any character?
- If two or more pieces are read,
transitions should set the stage
and connect the pieces
Practice reading aloud for continuity and smoothness:
- Keep your mind on the connected thought as you read
- Do the sequences of sentences build the theme or story?
- Practice reading the story out loud to a trial audience
Format your oral presentation to the audience's ability
to identify with, understand and enjoy the piece
Create an atmosphere or context with your voice:
expressive reading uses many vocal tools. Vocal qualities show differences
in characters, development of the action, and indications of emotions
- Rhythm, pace and cadence include pauses and effective spacing for
- Pronunciation of words pays attention to the enunciation of sounds.
Practice difficult words and their sounds as vowels and consonants,
especially leading and ending sounds.
Hear James Earl Jones recite the American alphabet
Emphasize prominent words or groups of words
order to make the meaning clear. Enunciate the final word in sentences
Pay attention to punctuation (comma, question, exclamation, etc.) and
- Inflection: raising and lowering pitch, as loudness and softness
For example, a rising inflection is used in asking a question and
expressing happiness, an expression of joyousness and life. A falling
inflection expresses seriousness, completing a thought, or an indirect
One strategy can be to read the sentences but in place of
use only a sound as mmm or ahhhh.
- Use facial expressions and gestures, and timely,
contact with the audience
- Bring out the music of the rhythm, but avoid sing-song reading.
Adjust your voice in order to interpret the "music" and thought of the
Deliberate or fast reading can convey emotion.
Reading and research series