Read a story and do basic sound editing.
Before the session, decide if members will work in Audacity or Soundtrap. Then either download Audacity to Club computers or navigate to Soundtrap and create a free account for your members to use. You can write the username and account somewhere visible to everyone. Do a quick sound check on the computer(s) before you start.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Listen to a Story
What Do You Want To Read?
Choose a children’s picture book, a short story or an excerpt from a chapter book to read aloud. If you choose a children’s book, you could donate the book and your recording to an elementary school classroom to help younger readers or to an organization for people with visual impairments. You could also record something for an online volunteer project, like LibriVox, which makes public domain audiobooks available for free on the internet.
Choose something that takes just a few minutes to read aloud. Practice reading it a few times. Then, look at these tips for improving your delivery. Choose one or two things you think you could work on and read the text again.
Does your story include any important noises that you could include in your recording? For example, if your story includes a character walking up the stairs, you could pause after you read that sentence and record yourself stomping your feet. If a phone rings in the story, maybe you could record a phone ringing as you read. If your story includes a lot of dialogue, you could ask a friend to play the part of one of the characters. Or you could change your own voice to represent different characters. For example, if a giant is talking, you could make your voice sound deeper.
Ask members to choose a children’s picture book, a short story or an excerpt from a chapter book to read aloud. Members could find stories online or in books. If you want, you can decide that the whole group will read pictures books. If you go this route, have a selection of short picture books ready and available for members to choose from.
Ask members to practice reading it aloud a few times. Of course, aloud doesn’t have to mean loud! Have members whisper read while they are practicing if there are a lot of people in the room.
Then call the attention back to the group. Say: Listen as I read part of this book. Chose a book and read about 30 seconds worth. Read mumbly and too quickly. When you’ve finished, ask: What did you notice about how I read? Was it easy to listen to? How could I make my reading better?
Read the same passage a second time. This time read more slowly, with better enunciation, and add emotion — you could even use funny voices for different characters. Ask: What did you notice I did differently this time? Was it easier to understand the first or second time? Why? Ask members to practice read the books once or twice more, incorporating some of the ideas you just spoke about.
If you’d like to turn this project into a volunteer opportunity, members could burn their recordings on CDs and donate them to an elementary school classroom. For older members, LibriVox is a volunteer-led project to make public domain audiobooks available for free on the internet.
Play back your recording. While you listen, note any mistakes or interruptions that you would like to edit out. Write down the time that the interruption occurred during the recording. For example, maybe there's a sneeze at 37 seconds.
After you have listened to the whole recording, go back and cut the sections you don’t want. Experiment with this and simply learn by doing. If you get stuck or want a little background knowledge before giving it a try, use online tutorials like the Audacity Manual. If you prefer you can look up specific tutorials, like this one on YouTube.
After you cut and edit your recording, play it back. Make sure the words still make sense. After you are happy with all your edits, save the file.
Notify your staff that you've completed this activity!
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