Two thousand years of reading aloud Think About It

March 18, 1998|By Paul Kropp

For most of recorded history, reading aloud has been the norm and reading silently has been regarded as an unusual procedure. The satirist Lucian (second century A.D.) gave this advice to readers: "Look at your books with your eyes wide open...and read them aloud with great fluency, keeping your eyes in advance of your lips."

St. Augustine marveled that his colleague, St. Ambrose, coulread while "his voice and tongue were at rest." Even St. Benedict, setting his rule for monks, did not require silent reading but that each monk should "do so in such a way as not to disturb anyone else."

Reading aloud was a source of such entertainment that Pliny thYounger (b. A.D. 62) is said to have read his own works to houseguests for two days straight. Reports do not indicate if the guests returned for another visit.

- From "Raising a Reader"

Pub Date: 3/18/98

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