Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Read Aloud, Hear Your Errors by author Anna Kittrell

Read Aloud, Hear Your Errors
by Anna Kittrell

Anna KittrellHave you ever listened to a first grader proudly read a story while dragging his finger over every single word on the page? Indeed, he should be proud—he is mastering the skill of reading aloud. And as you sit smiling (or, perhaps shifting impatiently while Spot the dog runs on and on and on…) a habit is being reinforced that will not only help the child read better, but will also help him write better.
Reading aloud forces the brain to slow down and focus on each individual word, allowing the writer to hear errors initially overlooked. When used as an editing tool, this technique drastically improves writing quality. But what if your voice simply can’t hold up through that enormous work in progress? Take heart, there is a solution—Adobe Reader’s Read Out Loud option. 
Not unlike that first grade child, Read Out Loud loves to read to you all day long, leaving you free to sit back and relax, with nothing to do but drag your finger across the page—and catch mistakes. Trust me, you’ll find plenty.
To use the Adobe Read Out Loud option, follow these six easy steps:
1.      Save your word document as a PDF in the “Save as type” drop down box. This will turn your word document into an Adobe Reader file.
2.      Open your PDF in Adobe
3.      Go to your Adobe toolbar, and select “View”
4.      From the drop down box, select “Read Out Loud”
5.      Choose an option from the list that appears to the right: Deactivate Read Out Loud, Read This Page Only, Read To End of Document, Pause, or Stop.
(Tip: Since it is not possible to make changes within the PDF, I keep my original word document open. When I encounter an error, I pause the reader, pop over to my word document, and make corrections.)
6.      Listen as the automated voice brings your words to life—sort of.
(Tip: During the Read Out Loud process, if you click on your document, a box will appear around a section of your text. After the outlined portion is read, the reader will stop. Repeat the above steps to re-start Read Out Loud.)
That’s all there is to it.
Okay, I admit the mechanical voice sounds a lot like the gal on my GPS, but I promise she will not say, “recalculating”—unless it is in your document. Sometimes she makes mincemeat of my characters’ names, which I find wildly entertaining. And, on occasion, a regular word such as bifocals throws her for a loop (she calls them biforcals).

Still, it beats reading aloud all weekend, getting laryngitis, and being unable to call in to work. Wait a minute—that sounds like a job for Adobe Read Out Loud! Type your excuse, save as a PDF, dial up your boss, and let the computer explain why you won’t be at work on Monday. Then spend the day cleaning up that manuscript—with Adobe Read Out Loud.


Anna Kittrell is the author of Skinbound and Another Man's Treasure,
Visit Anna on her homepage
Anna's YA novel Witcha'Be is set to be released soon from Prism Book Group


15 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Anna! I've been wanting to try this read-a-loud program but didn't have a clue! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

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    1. You are quite welcome, Jess ;) Thank you for stopping by!

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  2. I didn't know about this Adobe feature. Thanks! This will be a great help. I recently spoke at a women's group and read aloud to the group a post from my blog. I found errors I hadn't caught while reading the printed word. Good tip...thanks again.

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    1. Isn't it something how your brain just kind of fills in missing words or skips over errors? Reading aloud really helps catch those pesky mistakes. On the advice of an editor, I also read my manuscripts backwards--last page to first page--before submitting. This takes the story out of context, making it easier to find errors. Sometimes I do this aloud, sometimes silently. Thank you so much for commenting, Gay :)

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  3. I've tried this on two novels and it really helps me find typos. Good post, Anna!

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    1. It works wonders for those patient enough to muddle through it. I'm glad it was helpful to you :) Thanks for stopping by, Ann. Congratulations on completing two novels!

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  4. Great info, Anna. Thanks so much. Since I'm just finishing up a book, and will be reading it over and over next week before I send it off to the publisher, this will help with one of the readings. Best of luck with Witcha'be!!

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    1. Thanks Callie :) It is a great editing tool--if you can get past the GPS-like drone. After a while, I don't even notice. And like I said, I always get a giggle out of some of the pronunciations she comes up with! Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Is this the same read out loud program that pronounces punctuation too? That tongue clicking Klingon garb makes me clench my teeth after the first ten apostrophes, quotes and I won't even attempt to pronounce an exclamation point the way the reader does! lol But it is fun letting it read to you. Thanks for the reminder. I have a novella I'll be reading over soon and this will help. :)

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  6. Hahaha! Calisa :) No, this one doesn't pronounce punctuation--that would be a hoot. I have to admit, I typed the following message, just to hear her say it: "I'm sorry, but the number you are trying to reach is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please hang up, and try your call again. Goodbye." It was pretty spot-on. I'm thinking of playing it for the next telemarketer that calls. Oh, never mind, it will be a recorded telemarketer... Thanks for visiting, Calisa!

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    1. It is something. lol I love your idea of using your message for telemarketers, but you're right. They are also recordings. haha

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  7. Great post, Anna...very helpful tip!

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    1. Yay! My beautiful editor, Ally is here! Thank you, Alicia, I learned from the best ;)

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  8. OMG .. what a great reminder Anna! I totally forgot about this function.

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    1. Great, Maxine :) I'm glad I refreshed your memory. So happy you stopped by.

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