• Benjamin Fife

ReadingMagic - As a kid, did you enjoy reading aloud to other children? - Day 13

Updated: Jan 30

After yesterdays lengthy answer, I decided to go for one that my answer is fairly short.

No.


Not really.


At least not at first.






But eventually - yes.




Ok. I can make the entry a little longer than this. There are 3 specific memories that come to mind that are formative in my eventual choice to narrate audiobooks.


First - I'm not even sure how old I was. It could have been anywhere between 7 to 11. As the youngest in a family of 6, I wasn't the one who read to other people, but usually the one my siblings would read to. But some time or other I was reading something out loud & my mom made me stop, come in her room & practice reading aloud with her. I kind of think she had me do this for a week or so because I was inserting "um" or "uh" between about every word or three. She could tell I understood what I was reading, but for some reason wasn't comfortable reading it out loud in front of someone else. I don't know if it was Dr. Seuss or what, but she had me practice a bit with her & I had to make a conscious effort to slow down & stop with the filler noises. After more than 30 years, the details of if it was once or for a whole summer or what have left me, but the advice she gave me stuck with me every time I read aloud for anyone in class or at home or at church. And it still sticks with me when I'm recording a book today or reading to my kids.



The next memory that comes to mind was a "radio play" I did with one of my elementary school classes of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I was Linus, so I got the big ol' monologue including quoting Luke Chapter 2. Because of my mom's advice, I remember being confident in my reading of it, and proud of myself after the fact.



Not my original copy, but this is the edition I read from.

And the final memory is a few years later in Junior High in a speech class. We were required to do a reading from a book in front of the class. For my selection, I picked the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back, and specifically the iconic "I am your father" scene. It helped that I'd probably watched Empire no less than 30 times by that point, but I owned the class that day. I had a can to do Vader's voice. I still love recounting this one. Whenever folks ask me what led me to become a narrator, this memory is the one that is the inital spark. I think I was 14 & my voice had just recently dropped, making my Vader worth listening to. And I think Mark Hammill would have appreciated my performance. :)





So... Thanks, Mom! And thanks Mrs. McCool for what I view as my first Live reading.





So what about you? Did you enjoy reading to other kids?

Sorry to hear that, Luke.


BTW - if you haven't seen the Mark Hammill/Patrick Stewart Uber Eats commercials, do yourself a favor & google it. :'D