Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Read the Declaration of Independence aloud today

It's an American tradition, on our Independence Day, to read aloud the Declaration of Independence-- in part, a recollection of the way it was originally communicated to the people, via town criers who brought the document from city to city to read it out loud in the town square.

For public speakers, reading the Declaration aloud isn't just a nice way to honor the holiday. Reading any famous and familiar text aloud is a great way to practice how you vocalize. The familiarity of the text lets you focus on pronunciation, inflection, pauses and other ways of emphasizing particular words.

You can find a great model to follow in National Public Radio's own tradition of asking its hosts and reporters to read the Declaration aloud--each person gets a couple of sentences. Listen to their vocalizing to hear several different examples in one reading (and if you're a regular listener, it's fun to see whether you recognize who's reading what). For your own reading, here's the actual transcript of the Declaration, from the U.S. National Archives, and NPR's read-aloud version from last year.

Happy Fourth of July to my U.S. readers--and if you live elsewhere, think about a famous and familiar text from your own national heritage to read aloud.