Tag Archives: Art of Reading Aloud

Excerpts from “In My Own Voice. Reading from My Collected Works” Vol. 1

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Book Series

Tune in to Dr. Jeffrey Lant Introducing his brand series

“In My Own Voice.  Reading from My Collected Works.” below and read from the introduction of this fabulous new series.

Excerpts from  Vol. 1 Introduction

Each of us, in our individual lives, has a moment or two of epiphany. That is to say, a moment of surpassing importance and significance. Mine took place along the hot and sticky asphalt streets of summertime Downers Grove, Illinois.

 

You could follow my progress by the skid marks in the asphalt. Chances are, I was on my way to the library. There was a perfectly logical reason for this speed into the metropolis, and that was the fact that it was one of the few buildings in the community that was air conditioned. Therefore, it needs no explanation from me. Everyone in the state of Illinois knows the peril of that temperature, and the need to escape it.

 

My mother had begun taking me to the library very early in my life. I was such a regular participant in the programs and readings the librarians delivered, that I had my own chair with my own name, rather like a Hollywood producer, “Ladd”.

 

I was voracious about stories, could never get enough of them, and was always grateful to be advised on their presentation and explanation. In this way, the librarians came to present me with readings from the great poets… people like Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg.

 

I can well remember being told by the ladies one day that they had a present for me… and so they stationed me in a rather dark, gray room, everything cool to the touch, and turned on their latest acquisition.

 

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan’t be gone long. — You come too.

I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan’t be gone long. — You come too.

 

“The Pasture”, Robert Frost (1915)

 

I played this poem so often, each time hearing a little more of its author, the often irritated and irascible Robert Frost. I like the way he rolled those three little words: “you come too.” Only he didn’t pronounce it like that. Great poets have great eccentricities, and his were encapsuled in his rendering of these three words. Thus “ah you come too”. It was a call to come and be sociable, come and share, come and see your neighborhood and everything in it.

 

So powerful and so unfading were these words that when Robert Frost’s Cambridge home came on the market, I almost bought it, just so that I could sit in the parlor and read my envious friends from the poet’s ghost that resided there with all its poems, just for me.

 

Now, I have the opportunity to read my own works… to you, and hope that you will hear just how personal they are, and how each one, so powerfully written, touches your heart, because that is what I aim for.

 

This book contains five of my favorite essays… the one that I wrote when I turned 65; the one bringing you inside a great nor’easter; the one detailing the foolish hijinx of Captain Owen Honors, United States Navy; the one detailing the turbulent life of Amy Winehouse, a warning if there ever was one; and finally, one about the Andrews Sisters… three girls who kept America jumping throughout its greatest war, and reminded us what we were fighting for.

 

I have a special word for all you young people reading these essays. You have so many media choices that you may well overlook the importance and value of hearing authors read from their own works. This is something you need to do… you need to hear what they write, in their own way, and you need to recite what they write in your own way. If you cannot do this, you will miss so much of the pleasure of both author and reader.

 

And this special note to you library ladies: you did me such a life-changing favor so many years ago. Now, I want you to take what I have written, what I have recited here, and pass on the importance of the writers voice for the next generation, and the next after that.

 

And now without further ado, the first chapter of this book. Read the text along with the video, then read it again, until you are as expert in my quirks and foibles as I am myself.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Lant

From The Red Drawing Room

Cambridge, Massachusetts

August 2016

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 50 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co

More can be found on Dr. Lant on his author page at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/

A Gift from Dr. Jeffrey Lant to help all writers Master the Art of Writing

Get a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

 

When You Meet a Kindred Spirit, reach out to them… especially when they are about saving our threatened language. Meet Huck Gutman.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Article Series

Author’s program note. I’m going to do something different today, something occasioned by my discovery (compliments of The Boston Globe, September 21, 2011) of Huck Gutman. The theme “music” for this article will be an instrument we all have — the human voice — this time wielded by a master of delivery, Robert Frost.

Many years ago, over a half century in fact, I used to ride my bike from the tiny hamlet of Belmont, Illinois into the nearest town, Downers Grove, so I could sit in the cool recesses of the public library. I had many objectives and purposes there, books, of course, always books. But there were the records made by authors and by those very special authors called poets, one of which was recorded, and most memorably, by Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963).

I can recall to this day Frost’s reading of “The Pasture,” a selection from his volume “North of Boston,” published in 1915. It begins so…

“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring; I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away (And wait to watch the water clear, I may); I sha’n’t be gone long. — You come too.”

I doubt I can convey to you now — though I shall try — just how evocative, how thrilling the simple words, powerfully rendered, “You come too”, were to me, for I was a boy who longed to see the world and meet its people, and here was an invitation to accompany this special man who had a simple mission he made seductive…

“I’m going out to fetch the little calf That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young, It tottered when she licks it with her tongue. I sha’n’t be gone long. — You come too.”

Oh, how I wanted to go… and I believe Huck Gutman wanted to go, too. Before you meet him, go to any search engine and listen to Robert Frost read, especially “The Pasture,” then return here for I want you to meet Huck.

Sensitivity and a love of words from an unlikely place — the Capitol.

Huck Gutman is what Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables to you) would call a “kindred spirit.” She, an author too, loved words and would have written Gutman a nice note complimenting his labor of love; she would have deemed it an act of lexicological solidarity to be lavishly complimented… I agree.

Huck Gutman, a civilized man.

Gutman is 67 years old, an age at which many seek the joys of retirement — travel, golf, socially sanctioned sloth subsidized by Social Security… but Gutman has other fish to fry. This long-time professor at the University of Vermont (where I myself gave many workshops in business success) now serves as chief of staff to the Senate’s most “out there” liberal, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders. Since the senator has his hands full resurrecting America’s anemic Left, Gutman is kept busier than most of his administrative peers. But he makes time for another occupation, one which keeps him grounded and of good cheer… he is an avatar of words and of words properly read… particularly the diamond-sharp words of poets.

And he has set himself the (perhaps Sisyphean) task of building civil bridges in the epicenter of internecine political warfare through the love of poetry, of words, and of language. Whew! This is truly a labor of love… but one bringing a special joy to the growing cadre of those who like the likable Huck… and appreciate what he is doing. His e-mail list includes 1,700 readers who include all the Senate chiefs of staff, several White House staffers, university presidents, academics, journalists, and former students.

His point is simple, profound, and absolutely necessary to the well-lived life: “It’s to remind them there are other things than the debt ceiling and Social Security.” Amen.

Here’s how he does it…

Every couple of months or so, Gutman, on leave from the university, makes time to find and circulate a poem. It may be from Ancient Greece, Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, or William Carlos Williams — there are no limits but one: it must be a poem by a master, a poem that can (if properly read) read well.

Gutman, educator to his fingertips, presents the work with one admonition. “LISTEN to the poem.” “The worst thing to do with a poem is to try to get at its meaning. We have done an absolutely horrendous job in teaching people how to read poems.” I go even farther than Gutman here… we have done the same horrendous job teaching people — and not just students either — to read prose, novels, letters, speeches, too.

Gutman’s solution is to encourage his audience to read for enjoyment, just as they would listen to music. Gutman is right, but reading his carefully considered selections, for all he gives his readers a few directional signals, is not enough. They need to read aloud, one of the great joys our speed-reading culture has left behind, to the detriment of human communication and meaning.

The marvelous human voice.

Most every day I write an article; the subject range is unlimited. Like all authors I like to have these articles (which can easily double as scripts) read and read widely. But I also insist on them being read aloud, each and every word

My experiment in reviving the joys of recitation started in our online Live Business Center where 24-hour-a-day monitors give out effective business advice… and also read my newest article or any of the hundreds of classics. I must confess: there was a universal, almost rebellious opposition to this innovation by the people who had to read the word aloud. What a mess!

They mispronounced words they’d used since grammar school.

Tripped over anything longer than a couple of syllables.

Disdained the helpful dictionary… making even more errors.

Moaned, groaned, complained that they were being “forced” to learn.

Killed every inflection, every intonation, every emphasis and so rendered brilliant prose banal.

Tossed necessary punctuation away… and thus forced the collision of words which to provide full meaning, needed careful enunciation and precise delivery.

It was brutal, excruciating, painful… . But I knew, despite the squawks and maledictions, I knew, I say, what I was about. I insisted on my point and moved forward word by liberated word. To great effect…

Now monitors take pride in reading these articles… and reading them well by mastering the text, individual words they have not previously encountered, including the mot juste which can make or break a composition. This article, starting today, will enter the repertoire… to touch people worldwide who are charmed, enchanted, comforted and enlightened by the human voice properly used.

Last words (for today) for this fellow New Englander and his romance with words.

Thank you… thank you for allowing all the poets you have carefully selected to speak again and anew, profoundly, passionately, resoundingly. For this you have been rightly praised. Let me add these words to your plaudits. They are from Joachim Du Bellay (1522-1560) “Heureux qui comme Ulysse qui fait une belle voyage.” You deserve such a voyage, and with the multitudes of poets who travel with you, will always be welcome wherever you go.

* * * * *

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 50 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co

More can be found on Dr. Lant on his author page at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/

Watch for his new series “In My Own Voice” Assorted Selection of Readings From My Collected Works.

Dr. Jeffrey Lant read aloud for your listening pleasure.

A gift to you from Dr. Jeffrey Lant to help in your writing endevors

Get a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

Mastering the fine art of reading aloud… and why you must do so.

Proudly presented from the www.writerssecrets.com  Article Series

Go into any office in the world and its busy denizens will be emailing, leaving telephone messages, text messaging, etc. Each and every time they use these admittedly convenient devices, their necessary human to human communications skills are melting away. Tools that are supposed to help us communicate exact a terrible price for convenience; that price is the whittling away of our language skills.

Go into any home in the world and the same perilous, reprehensible trend is immediately apparent. The members of most families rarely function as a united, cohesive unit. Instead, they spend their time text messaging, emailing, leaving telephone messages and, when not otherwise engaged, they sit before their home entertainment devices alone, very much in their own worlds, the occasional grunt and interjection all that passes for conversation and togetherness.

Now consider the classic film “I Remember Mama” (released 1948). Here family is not a thing. It is everything. Each evening this Norwegian immigrant family, now resident in San Francisco, sits together at the supper table once the dishes have been removed… and they read to each other.

They read the great classics, adventure stories, mysteries, romances, travel, history… and they are expected to read well and to make every attempt (depending on their ages) to read clearly and to be able to discuss what they are reading.

You will say, but that is only a film, only fiction. But I shall say to you, most every family then spent most of their evenings so, even if the books they read were the King James Version of the Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678), and a volume or two of “improving” stories and sermons; in English-speaking lands quite likely the works of William Shakespeare, too.

In those days when a family was a family, people read to each other. And they derived a plethora of benefits, immediate and long term, to wit, how to

* pronounce words properly

* discover the proper definitions of words and so increase vocabulary and language usage

* read for greatest personal understanding and the greater understanding of all auditors

* learn all the nuances of language from its greatest practitioners

* use language to make yourself completely clear and comprehensible, using the right word at the right time

* “read” your audience as you read to them

* make a presentation that influences people

* read at the right speed

* perfect daily language use

* talk to people, not at people.

Even merely perusing this list of benefits establishes just how far we have descended from the far more literate ages preceding our own. They spoke more clearly, read more clearly, and wrote more clearly than most people today, despite the trillions of dollars we spend on education generally and human communications skills particularly. Education, in this regard as others, has manifestly failed; as a result we have millions of people who have passed through the public (and private) educational systems (with graduation certificates to prove it) who are daily humiliated and shown to be completely inadequate at their own language.

If you are satisfied with this result, with producing children with less verbal dexterity and understanding than you and far, far less than their grandparents, then do nothing. Clearly you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Otherwise, resolve to save your children, with or without the help of our schools. Most of these will advance a million “reasons”, or more, why reading aloud is impractical. The extent to which they do so is the extent to which they, too, are part of the problem, sabotaging the solution.

But let us begin, if only like the characters in “I Remember Mama” at the kitchen table… it will do just fine.

1) Start now. If you wish to save whatever communication and language skills remain, act at once to do so. Remember, they are at peril.

2) Read this article to your children before starting. It will help them understand the negligence of the schools, their own at risk position, and the need for as much of their cooperation as they can give.

3) Tape your sessions. No one can ever believe without such irrefutable proof that they read quite as badly as they do.

4) Keep sessions to 60-90 minutes. Even that, I admit, may seem unreachable, but what are goals for, after all, if not to challenge and set a clear objective representing improvement?

5) Select material which is interesting. Remember, you are competing against thousands of distractions which have been expertly developed by folks to steal your children’s attention and keep it squarely where they wish. So, select something decidedly interesting.

6) Keep a check list of things which can be improved. Keep a note pad at the ready so you can recall good things needing praise… and bad things needing attention.

7) Ensure that all participating (and, remember, it needn’t be just children) have the opportunity to read aloud each session. This is a hands-on event, and no one should be just “audience.”

More tips

You must have procedures in place for maximizing results. Here are some suggestions:

1) When the reader doesn’t know a particular word, do not give the definition yourself. Keep a dictionary at the ready and have the reader look up the word in question.

Idea: you can also ask the participants to write down what they think the definition is, then check the dictionary. Make this a game. No dictionary in your house? Get one at once.

2) Do the same where the reader trips over the pronunciation of a word. Here the dictionary is again invaluable.

3) Keep close attention to the speed at which the reader reads; odds are, it will be too fast. That must be eradicated. You’ll find yourself saying “slow down” often, and quite right.

4) Make sure the reader doesn’t sit stiffly but instead naturally. The pose the reader adopts will influence the entire atmosphere. Calm and amiable are good objectives.

5) Make sure the reader learns the art of looking up from time to time, thereby establishing and maintaining complete audience contact.

Conclusion

What is great about learning how to read aloud is that the benefits will resonate through your entire life. They are crucial, aiding you in your educational endeavors, employment, relationships, and more. Our schools have let your children down… don’t compound their problems by failing to do what you can. From this very moment.

For a real treat pick up the series –

“In My Own Voice” Assorted Selection of Readings from My Collected Works.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

fPick up a copy at: http://amzn.to/2oIhIs6

* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide.

He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four college degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities, quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 30 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.com

Get a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE fit’s of reading