Tips for Guest Readers

Each year, READ IN Week has a specific theme, which may inspire your book selection. Edmonton Public Library also has great ideas to get you started. 


Still not sure?

  • No problem! Think back to your own childhood. Do you have a favourite book you want to share? If there’s a title you love, go ahead and spread that love to others!
  • Want to share a longer book? Go for it! You can pique your audience’s interest by reading them the first chapter, or maybe just skip right to the action!
  • No matter what book you choose, you can borrow a copy from Edmonton Public Library by searching the public library catalogue online.
  • Consider reading an eBook, especially if your event is virtual anyway! Edmonton Public Library has lots of great eBook vendors. Hoopla is a great platform to start with because there’s no limit to the number of people who can borrow the same eBook at one time and they have plenty of picture books and chapter books to choose from.


Tips for Reading Out Loud – In Person

  • If you’re reading a picture book, make sure everybody can see the images! Pause at the end of every page so that your audience can soak in the details of the images. Pan the picture book from your left to your right so everyone can get a good look. If you’re reading an e-picture book, share your screen so that everybody can see the pictures.


  • Make sure to speak loudly enough so that everyone can hear; it doesn’t hurt to check with your audience before you start reading.


  • Pause in the story to ask your own questions. “What do you think is going to happen next?” is always a good one to ask. “Was that a good decision?” is a great question to ask after a character does something. Kids also love it when you exclaim, “Oh no! Who’s as nervous as I am about what’s happening next?”. Audience participation keeps everyone engaged.


  • If your book contains a lot of action, you can combine story and movement by having your audience act some of it out. Stomp your feet, clap your hands, do a jumping jack – this is great especially for younger kids who may not be able to sit still for a long time.


Tips for Reading Out Loud — Virtual Environment

  • Find a spot that’s relatively quiet and free of background noise, whether it’s other people, pets or street sounds.


  • Avoid being backlit–don’t film with a window behind you or in the frame since it is likely to make it difficult for people to see you.


  • Be aware of your background. Make sure there isn’t anything there you wouldn’t want your audience to see! Clean, tidy backgrounds also make it easier for your audience to focus on you.


  • Ensure the camera angle is tilted at an angle where your audience can see you and your book.


  • It never hurts to get dressed up in preparation for reading to an audience, unless you want them to see you in your PJs!