World Read Aloud Day…to yourself.

February 24, 2016 is World Read Aloud Day (WRAD). Presented by and sponsored by Scholastic,WRAD encourages everyone within earshot of children to grab a couple of books and read to them. Sharing stories and sharing time is one of the best ways to bond with children and to develop their interest in books. You can join in a twitter chat by entering #WRAD16.

Now for all of you writers out there. When is the last time you read your book aloud to yourself?

One of the best ways to edit a manuscript is to read it out loud. When you put an actual voice to the printed words, magical things happen. Dialogue is no longer just words inside quotation marks, it becomes speech; sometimes eloquent, but sometimes flat. Descriptive passages become visual landscapes or mud puddles of adjectives. You’ll hear if your characters have their own voices or if they all sound alike.

It’s also a great proofreading technique. I sometimes forget insert common words. My brain knows what the sentence is supposed to say and doesn’t even notice the “to” is missing. But when I read aloud, the signals go from eyes to brain to mouth and mouth starts to say what is supposed to be there and eyes are like “Wait a minute! I don’t actually see ‘to.’ Are you sure we’re supposed to say it?” And the brain hits the alarm signal and you’ve found an error.

On Feb. 24th, after you’ve read to a child, I challenge you to read your WIP out loud to yourself. Great writing is verbal music. Come on. Let’s hear it!

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