The reading or reciting of a text by a group. Preparation for a performance may involve interpretation of the text; experimentation with language, rhythm, volume, pace, and different numbers of voices; and rehearsal. ( 2009 Ontario Arts Curriculum)
An Instructional Approach
- Pre-select and display several short poems. (Some poems that work well are from authors Dennis Lee, Loris Lesynski, John Mole and Shel Silverstein.)
- Through a selection process (i.e. stars, vote) have the class select a poem.
- Students will need to have access to copies of the poem selected.
- Read through the poem with students, (focusing on interpretation), so that all students understand the meaning of the poem.
- Next, recite the poem with the students (everyone speaking at the same time).
- Following the first recitation, encourage the students to make the poem more exciting by emphasizing vocal elements in their reading.
- Repeat the choral reading of the poem several times, introducing and experimenting with different elements, deciding as a class how each element works best for the performance of this poem:
- Dynamics: Volume
- Pitch: the highness, or lowness of sound
- Tempo: speed
- Tone: light, medium or heavy sounds
- For more advanced lessons, develop the use of voice production stages: Respiration, Phonation, Resonation, Articulation.
- Once you have decided on how the poem will be vocally performed, ask the students what movements would make the meaning of the poem come to life. They could use gestures, large actions or even choreograph some movement phrases.
Variations for Different Levels of Readiness
- The text forms used may vary from writing in role texts created by students, to newspaper articles, stories, non-fiction material. statistical data, play scripts, or any other text.
- Students may experiment with canon, rounds, pair, small group or solo sections within a choral reading involving the whole group. One half of the class might read one section and the rest of the class can read another.
- Other Vocal Techniques: echoing words and phrases, alternating lines, chants, overlapping lines, repeating lines or words, whispering lines or words, changing tones in mid line, singing, creating sound effects, crying, whistling, clapping or other body percussion, and altering the tempo and rhythm or inserting pauses.
- Design the choral speaking for a specific audience, and present to that audience.
- Plan a presentation on a particular theme using various texts based on that theme.
- Students write a piece to be presented through choral speaking.
- Use choral speaking when presenting dramatic literature involving a chorus (ie: Greek Theatre)
- Apply choral speaking when using Reader's Theatre