Storytelling Involves Acting and Voices – and Dads Do It Best!
I always thought I wanted to be a baseball player, astronaut, or the President someday.
But now I’ve decided that when I finally grow up, I want to be a voice actor.
You see, I’ve been doing this for years during story time. Anyone can read our children a story – a teacher, the local librarian, a grandparent. But book reading really takes a trained father with experience employing character voices who provides laughs and a solid history of kids begging for more.
Dads have this down better than anyone.
I find it interesting that there is plenty of scientific research on housework and men. About stay-at-home dads. How dads can better bond with kids, how fathers don’t use coupons, or how they fail to straighten the silverware drawer. We love to probe fathers to prove their inadequacy as parents and validate our recurring complaints.
And yet, there’s nothing about the study of dads using character voices while reading, and its systematic benefit to childlike imagination, human development, and nurturing. Or how dads’ playful behavior might be fostering an aspiring actor, improving reading scores, raising a budding sitcom director, or simply coaxing a shy, withdrawn child out of his/her shell.
Want to hear a princess voice? I can do that. How about an angry troll? Got it. Need a stately king or town mayor? Yessir. Baby voices, animal sounds, or demolition derby car crashes? Check, check, and check!
I’ve often thought “The Simpsons” could save a lot of money by employing my talents. I’d do all of the characters and at a fraction of the cost!
The best part is injecting a familiar character from pop culture into a random book, mostly for my enjoyment. SNL character voices come in handy because our kids have never heard any of them. The Church Lady makes for hilarious book oddity. The kids don’t get it (they just hear a unique voice), but my wife finds it amusing.
So, if the book has an ordinary villain, I might use Darth Vader. Yoda for the good guys. Bullwinkle works for nearly any animal. And sometimes, just to keep our kids on their toes, I’ll give Cinderella a deep NYC accent.
Among most of the women I’ve heard reading books, well, they read them. They have every opportunity in the world to insert character voices, but for whatever reason, they don’t. Sure, they may instill some nice inflection and sweet tone. But playing the part of the characters makes all the difference. You get to be the book. It comes even more alive.
I can’t tell you how many dads have told me they read with character voices, too. It’s like we’re united by this common, yet seldom-discussed act. Why do we do this? It comes naturally. It’s part of a fatherly instinct that’s helping our kids to develop better language skills, enhance mental stimulation and memory improvement, nurture their artsy expressions – and just to have good, old-fashioned fun.
All of this sounds like a brilliant scientific research topic, in my opinion. And I’ll be the first interviewee to sign up.
As long as I can use my Batman voice.