Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reading the Word Expressively

Don't you dare bore people with the Word of God! It's the very word of our Lord, it's powerful, it's living and active -- don't kill its power by your poor presentation! Your teaching will be so much easier and effective if you present the Word of God as engaging, interesting, personal, dynamic, powerful!

The simple truth is that not nearly enough teachers and pastors have received any coaching on how to read expressively, or practice it regularly. You don't have to be in this group! Just a few minutes of practice can make an enormous difference!

Try this exercise to feel the contrast effect:

First, pitch your shoulders forward, round your back, tuck your chin down toward your chest, and read a short passage in a quiet monotone

Next, straighten your shoulders, sit up tall, take a deep breath, and read the same passage loudly, emphasizing some of the words but not all.

Feel the difference? So will everyone listening to you.

Here are some eight
tips for reading expressively:

1. Prayerfully imagine how Jesus would read this passage to the same group you are teaching.

2. Practice reading your text aloud several times. Get comfortable with it.

3. Decide in advance how you will pronounce names

4. Try emphasizing different words and see how the meaning shifts in your mind. (Side benefit: you'll get new insights that you can use in teaching!)

5. Posture makes a HUGE difference. Stand or sit tall. Take deep breaths. Open your mouth wide. If you teach while sitting down, practice reading expressively while sitting down. If you teach standing up, practice reading expressively while standing up.

6. Read about 10-20% louder and with 10-20% more emphasis than you would in normal conversation with one other person. The bigger your audience, the bigger your voice should be.

7. Enunciate clearly. This is easier with practice.

8. Ask a few people to give you feedback on your reading.

Practice reading more expressively and your teaching effectiveness will improve. You'll be glad to did -- but not nearly as glad as those who are listening to you!

Note: this six minute video has an audio recording where I explain all this with some actual examples.

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