Once upon a time we were all children and most of us loved nothing more than having a bedtime story read to us. There’s something really powerful about listening to a story rather than reading it. The reader is forced to focus on every word and use a range of skills to capture the tone and character of each story. The listener quickly becomes absorbed in the story, wanting to know what comes next, and enjoying the rhythm of the spoken word. As adults reading aloud to children is one of life’s simple pleasures, but it’s not just kids that enjoy hearing books read out loud.
Of course story telling comes originally from an oral tradition with people sitting around a fire telling ancient tales to each other. It creates an intimacy and a bonding between people away from the trials of day to day living. The advent of the written word has naturally brought many benefits, but it risks the reader skipping sections or not fully concentrating on each sentence. Reading aloud takes us into another world where reality is well and truly suspended. As an author Dickens took full advantage of reading aloud to huge audiences back in the nineteenth century. More recently the tradition of reading aloud is undergoing something of a revival. No self-respecting author will turn down the opportunity to read their work to fans or new readers at one of the literary festivals that have sprung up all around the country.
CHINDI members recognise the power of reading aloud and many of us have enjoyed opportunities to share our books with new readers at book reading sessions. In fact we enjoy it so much we plan to organise a book reading evening in Chichester soon – watch out for announcements on our website and Facebook page.