How can reading aloud improve your life and also make you a better voice actor?
When you read aloud, you’re employing a great number of your faculties, and more often than not, the very act of reading aloud is a revelation in itself. However, for voice actors, reading aloud is the very basis of your craft.
Here are 7 benefits of reading aloud to motivate you to get started. This wonderful practice will help you build up your voice skills and become (more) successful as a voice actor.
- Sharpens Your Focus
- Increases Your Vocabulary
- Results in Greater Comprehension
- Gives you an Opportunity to Play
- Exercises Your Body
- Challenges Your Use of Intonation
- Improves Listening and Reading Skills
1. Sharpens Focus
When you’re reading aloud, you will find that it becomes easier to put all of your energy into the task at hand without the temptation of distractions. You are so focused that you likely won’t even notice that you are strengthening your mental and verbal skills.
If you think about it, your mind is akin to a muscle. When it works out, you tone it and build up strength. When you read aloud, you are exercising the connection between your mind and your voice to the full extent which results in greater focus and cohesiveness.
This resulting focus and cohesiveness can help you when you are reading a longer piece of narration for a job and want to nail the read in as few takes as possible.
2. Increases Vocabulary
Ever come across a word in a script that you are unsure of how to pronounce? Reading aloud more often, can help you become familiar with more unfamiliar word. Saying something in context aloud is very powerful.
When you are reading in your head, you only hear the words internally and their effect on you is limited to how you interpret the script or other words during that very private experience.
If you choose to read them aloud, you may find deeper layers of meaning in the words because when they are spoken, they take on a life of their own and become a part of you. And inevitably through comprehension, become part of your vocabulary and influence your use of language.
3. Greater Comprehension
People learn in a variety of ways – visual, aural, tactile and so on. By reading aloud, you’ll stand a better chance of internalizing the words and making them your own before you perform.
Of course, this approach helps others who are not reading aloud as an actor, but for the sake of learning in general.
If you are an auditory learner, reading aloud will help the material to sink in and become ingrained, making it easier to draw on the information you’ve just ingested for when you need to reference it in the future.
4. Opportunity to Play
When is the last time you read something aloud just for the sheer pleasure of doing so? Don’t worry about being in the recording booth or turning on your mic. Reading aloud should be fun. Otherwise, why would you feel drawn to voice acting? Take a nice break to read out loud just for fun.
If you are looking for an opportunity to stretch your imagination and explore the capabilities that may be hidden in your voice, read a children’s book aloud to someone you love. Read anything you can find! From cereal boxes, to instruction manuals to sample voice over scripts – breathe life into every piece of copy you come across.
Audiobook narrator, Ilyana Kadushin shares her tips on learning to becoming a great speaker and endure the challenges of reading long-form narration aloud. “Go to a senior citizen’s home or a place for the blind, or a place for children and read to people out loud and really feel what that’s like to have to sustain narration and to feel that someone’s listening,” Ilyana says. “Just feel that in your body. That, to me, is very important – to understand that someone’s listening and that what you’re doing with the language is landing in their ear.”
5. Exercises Your Body
When people speak, we often involve more than just our voice in the projection process. In fact, many of us, attributable to culture or otherwise, make use of our entire body when speaking to get a point across. Physical expression adds or supports what we are saying and can also help your voice sound more engaging and animated – this is especially important if you are putting on a character voice.
Watch how the cast of Zootopia utilizes their hands when they speak as they step into their respective characters.
6. Challenges Your Use of Intonation
When you read aloud, sounding dull isn’t an option, especially if you have an audience. Make use of the full range of your voice. By speaking the words as though you have full intention of them being heard, you’ll be able to discover and explore your range more deeply.
If you’re wondering how you sound, try recording yourself and then playing it back, noting where your voice goes up, down, starts, stops, fluctuates and even surprises you.
Use a pencil and paper to mark your scripts to help direct your tone and vocal interpretation of the story or piece of ad copy. You’ll be amazed by how some forethought and attention to detail can make an enormous impact on your delivery.
7. Improves Listening and Reading Skills
Lastly, reading aloud will make you more aware of things that you read, hear, and also help you to identify proper grammar, sentence structure, and so forth. Reading aloud also does much for shaping your interpretation of what is being said.
You’ll be able to read with more efficiency and richness, expand your literary horizons and also experiment with the many ways you could interpret the written word, then translate your findings through spoken word expression.
Reading Aloud as a Key to Voice Actor Success
Reading aloud can help you gain valuable skills that can be applied to your personal life (think of reading aloud for leisure and pleasure) as well as your professional life (help you become more familiar with the pronunciation of words and can help you develop better enunciation skills).
Take some time out of your day or week to read aloud to a willing audience, or even yourself! There are many voice over sample scripts online that can help you, including samples of voice over narration scripts, video game sample scripts, voice over scripts for elearning and more! And see what improvements this new habit can have on your voice over performances.
Love Reading Aloud so Much You Want to Make it Your Career?
No profession delves as deep into the craft of reading aloud as voice acting.