Oral reading is the interpretation of thought through the medium of human personality. Its greatest responsibility is in the Scripture reading—the communication of divine thought to men.
As the channel of communication, the reader must adjust mind and soul to a full reception of the message and an eager desire for its presentation, so that the flow of thought be unhindered. Full reception requires perfect understanding. This demands intensive study of text and context, till there is no obscurity as to meaning. Growing out of this mental grasp there must follow spiritual assimilation, tuning the soul in sympathy with the various sentiments of the text. Thus ideas represented in cold print are born again in the warm emotions of the heart, to be conveyed in colorful speech to the hearers.
This union of external thought with the intellect and emotion of the reader is the secret of a natural conversational tone. In the presentation of narrative, it will evidence the dramatic instincts of imagination, animation, and variation; in didactic topics, it will express itself with due weight and accentuation ; in oratory it will raise the spirit of the reader to impassioned fervor and concentration of purpose.
Although the proper adjustment of mind and soul is vital to good reading, the physical aspect is not to be ignored. Clear enunciation and correct pronunciation must be accompanied by harmonious correlation of the eyes, facial expressions, gestures, and posture with the central spirit of the written message.