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Sunday, July 19, 2015

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You

I love reading aloud, and not just children's illustrated books, novels too. It's unclear where this love came from, because reading out loud in grade school would send me into a panic-freeze-doom-spiral. But by undergrad, my friends and I were always reading out loud. Mostly Harry Potter, and romance novels. We'd spend countless hours procrastinating on our homework, reading out loud, and giggling at the racy bits (of the romance novels, not HP).

But reading out loud is only fun when you have an audience. And when there's no one in your life with the time or interest to listen to you read, there's really no reason to do it anymore. And so for a long time, I didn't.

And then, last year on a particularly slow day at work, one of my then co-workers (and current read-aloud friend) found ourselves with only one advanced reader's copy of Miranda July's novel, The First Bad Man. We started reading small parts out loud, and because it was such a slow day, those small parts became longer and longer, until we had read an entire chapter out loud. We enjoyed ourselves so much we didn't stop and spent a lovely evening on her porch, drinking cool beverages, and reading to each other.

Both of us were struck by how much we missed reading aloud, and being read to. And that's how Grown-Up Storytime was born. We call it LoLS, The League of Literary Snobbery: Storytime for Grownups. Yes, it's a regrettable name born of an astounding lack of imagination, and that calling something "Adult Storytime" would generate an entirely different audience.

Every third Monday of the month at the Ravenna location, at 7PM, we gather in the Pub, get our drinks and adjourn to the Reading Room. And we read out loud. Mostly it's me reading, but others join in from time to time (we gladly welcome new readers). Sometimes there's a theme, and sometimes not. It might be an article, a short story, an essay, or a piece from a novel. Sometimes the occasional poem gets thrown around. We play it pretty fast and loose.

And, according to this completely unresearched (by me) link on the internet, reading aloud is good for you! It:
  • Sharpens Your Focus 
  • Increases Your Vocabulary 
  • Results in Greater Comprehension 
  • Gives you an Opportunity to Play 
  • Exercises Your Body 
  • Challenges Your Use of Intonation 
  • Improves Listening and Reading Skills
You should join us. Tommorrow, Monday July 20th at 7PM. Meet in the Pub at Ravenna Third Place. I'll read to you, and you'll drink drinks, and there will even be popcorn...and air conditioning. Hope to see you there.

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