Help your students learn to proclaim God’s Word at school and parish liturgies.
By Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND
It is very important that we teach our students how to proclaim Scripture. Mumbling it, racing through it, or mutilating it is not proclaiming.
Once at a parish liturgy, a lector praying the Responsorial Psalm said, “May my tongue cleave to my plate [palate] if I forget you Jerusalem.”
The picture that image conjured up did nothing for the spirit of prayer!
To prepare students to proclaim the word, talk about eye contact, enunciation, expression, projection, pronunciation, and poise. Challenge the students to look at the listeners as much as possible. Tell them to let their eyes read ahead of their voice so that they take in strings of words and then recite them without looking at the page.
Encourage students to enunciate and to use expression. Tell them about Demosthenes, a Greek orator who practiced by filling his mouth with marbles. Then, with his mouth full, he tried to speak clearly. Have the students exaggerate as they practice, so that even if stage fright overcomes them, their reading will still be better than before they practiced.
To ensure that they are heard, have the students concentrate on projecting their voices to the person in the farthest corner of the room. Let them practice with a microphone and try adjusting it for themselves. Have them repeat words they stumble over. For real sticklers, direct them to books like Lector’s Guide to Biblical Pronunciation by Joseph M. Staudacher (Our Sunday Visitor).
Tactfully call attention to those nervous habits that students tend to develop when facing a group: twisting a strand of hair, playing with a button, shaking a leg, clearing their throats, or anything else that will distract from the word.
Tape record the students or even videotape them if possible. Then have them evaluate themselves and one another. Provide opportunities in class for students to proclaim the word. Most of all, be a model for your students by proclaiming any Scripture passage your lesson calls for with reverence, power, and clarity.
Excerpted from Leading Young Catholics into Scripture: Fun and Creative Ways to Bring the Bible to Life, by Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND. Copyright 2010. Published by Twenty-Third Publications. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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