Suggestions for Reading

Please use the following guideline as you prepare:

1.  VOLUME  
Think of your voice as an instrument.
As you read aloud, be aware of how your voice sounds as you say each word. Use your voice to help convey the message. Be loud and bold at times, then soft and gentle. Allow your voice to blend with the others, then stand out, then blend again.

2.  EMPHASIS                            
Emphasize italicized words.
You’ll want to emphasize certain words. We’ve italicized some words that might be emphasized, but feel free to make changes that seem right to you. Experiment to see what sounds right to your ear. For example, note the difference between these three readings: I have called you by name and you are mine. I have called you by name and you are mine. I have called you by name and you are mine.

Enjoy saying the words.
Think of how you can say a word in a manner that reflects its meaning. For example, say the word “precious” out loud in various ways. How can you say the word “precious” in a precious way? Try the same thing with these words: formed, fire, burned, consume, afraid. Don’t overdo it, just experiment to see how you can add more meaning to the reading by how you say the words. We’ve put some words in bold print that seem to lend themselves to this kind of articulation.

4.  PACE
Vary the pace.
We’ve marked some sections to be read more slowly than others. Usually you will want to start each new section more slowly, so that the words can be heard clearly, and increase the pace as you move through the echo, slowing again for specific emphasis. There may be some words or phrases that you want to say very slowly and deliberately, setting them apart and lifting them up. Suggestions for these words and phrases are underlined.

5.  ECHO  
Allow an echo effect.
As the readers echo a word or phrase back and forth, the volume should get softer and softer. You might want to try having one voice begin to speak before the prior voice has finished, overlapping the words with one another. We’ve indented the words and phrases that might be echoed.
For example:
     1: You are mine.
     2:         You are mine.
     3:                 You are mine.

6.  SILENCE    
     Don’t forget to pause.

The asterisks divide one section from another. If there are three asterisks, pause for three seconds. You will be tempted to jump into the next section without leaving enough time for silence. Your hearers will need the silence to allow what they have heard to sink in. Trust God to work in the silence. The ellipses (...)leave space for silence in the midst of one voice speaking. Again, leave a significant pause before starting again.

     Take the time to practice.

For a Scripture Echo to be effective, you really need to rehearse.

     Make sure you have proper amplification.

This is crucial. Don’t forget to make microphones a part of your rehearsal.

     See what works for your setting.

Usually, the Scripture Echo readers will stand in a group, with some distance between them if the sound system requires space between microphones. We’ve found that if the readers stand closer to one another, they have a better sense of voices blending and echoing. However, you may wish to separate them, having them stand at different places in the sanctuary. During one Scripture Echo reading, the readers stood far apart to begin and then during each pause between the sections, they moved closer together. See what works for you.

     Clearly mark your parts.

We’ve written each script so that it should be easy to keep your place. You will probably want to mark your part with a highlighter, so that it’s even easier to follow along.

     Explore the wide range of possibilities of your voice.

We communicate by the content of what we say and by the manner in which we say it. We’re all used to hearing scripture read aloud in a certain kind of tone. Explore different ways to use your voice and to play your voice against those of the other readers. You will need to be willing to take a risk. Take a risk with your voice and how you use it. Risk speaking in a way that you’ve haven’t before. If you’re soft-spoken and gentle, try to proclaim certain words loudly and with oomph! If you’re naturally louder and bolder, try to make your tone gentle and soft. Experiment with drawing out words – making them last and last. Make other words short and staccato.

One way to help change the style of our voices is to imagine speaking words in a certain scenario.

Imagine how you would speak if you were:
-Speaking to a child who is frightened, soothing him and calming him down
-Speaking words to someone who is just about to do something that will be very difficult for them, and needs to be encouraged and lifted up
-Speaking words of tenderness and adoration to the one you love

God speaks to us in every situation in our lives. As we share God’s words with others, we can use our voices to help communicate the different ways that God soothes, encourages and loves us.

As strange as it may seem to rehearse one part of an Echo Reading, you may wish to do so at home. Try using a tape recorder to record your voice, then listen to see what seems to work. When you rehearse with the other readers, bring your own interpretation and share ideas with one another.

12.  OOPS  
       Don’t worry if you make a mistake

Even with practice, there might be a glitch or two as you read the Scripture Echo in the setting. Simply continue through as if nothing had happened. Don’t try to go back and recover. Chances are, those listening won’t notice. And remember, when you read Scripture, you aren’t performing, you are leading worship, giving all the glory to God.

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