Professionals Against Bullying

Monday, January 4, 2010

Guest blog by Patty O'Brien Novak...Enjoy!

“Transforming Books into a 1 Woman Stage Show”

Hello everyone! I’m Patty O’Brien Novak and I’m elated to be Tara’s guest blogger today. I met Tara through Twitter and am also a writer. My book, “Engineering the ABC’s: How Engineers Shape Our World” was recently published. Please visit me at!

I love to read with my children, now 8 & 5, and started reading to them at a few days old. What I didn’t love was reading the same story over & over again. I’d groan inside my head and think “Not this one again!” I quickly realized I needed to do something to bring back the joy and squeeze out the monotony.

And that is how it began… my 1 woman stage show - my venture into all things dramatic with visions of standing ovations dancing in my head. My readings came alive and with each one, I added a bit more to my acting repertoire.

I started using different voices for different characters:
- a big, booming voice for a papa bear;
- a soothing, soft voice for a mama rabbit and
- various higher pitched voices for the multitude of youngsters we encountered in our reading journey.

Then I added emotions to my tone. I used:
- “eeeee” to express glee;
- “aaahhhh’s” and “ooohhhh’s” for a sense of wonder and
- “ummmm’s” to express love and contentment.

The final step in my theatrical journey was adding movement:
- fluttering my hand to represent birds flying;
- bop up and down for trucks going over a country road and
- stretch my arms wide, then swoop and dive like an airplane.

My reading became a 1 woman stage show with an enraptured audience – just what this secret drama queen needed to make each reading even more expressive and dramatic than the last. I found a new sense of joy in reading the same story over & over.

My heart fluttered with excitement at how I could make this reading different, dare I say “better?” than the last. I was no longer simply reading words – I had become a storyteller.

Share with me: What are some things you do to make reading more fun for you and the young people in your life? What are some ideas you would like to try for making reading fun?

1 comment:

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Great advice! I have always done this while reading to my children. I get as much joy out of reading the stories as my kids used to get out of listening to them (They're in their late teens now). For extra fun, I'd also add interesting accents to my characters: an Irish brogue for Tomie dePaola's Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato, or English cockney for Harry Potter's Hagrid.