Oral Interpretation

Course Description:

This course is designed for students with experience speaking who are planning careers that require them to read aloud, to be dramatic and to tell stories, possibly to children. The student will learn to interpret prose and poetry orally for the entertainment and edification of small or large audiences. Admission is by approval of the instructor. Lecture: 3 hours


Text: Roles in Interpretation, 5th edition
Author: Judy Yordon
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin


Sample syllabus from Fall 2005 - †Word Document, requires MS Word to view/print

Class Profile:

Students take this course as an elective. They represent the demographic diversity of CCRI classrooms--primarily traditional high school graduates, some high school enrichment students, those with GED's, ESL students, and older, returning students-- and have varying levels of oral and written communication skills. Given the performance nature of this course, it often attracts students who have an interest in performing. Some enrolled students will transfer to a four-year institution as a communication or theatre major. A select number of students may have had or will be taking an Acting I class.

Course Objectives:

  1. To appreciate the significance of literature
  2. To analyze and interpret themes within prose, poetry, and dramatic literature
  3. To discover style and structure inherent in literature
  4. To make decisions about how to convey discovered meaning through performance
  5. To convey an understanding of a selected piece through vocal and physical elements
  6. To develop critical listening skills
  7. To become a more thoughtful and effective communicator

Student Learning Outcomes:

At the completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Recognize the relationship of the experiences of literature to personal experience and use this knowledge when selecting literature for performance
  2. Select prose, poetry, and dramatic material conducive to oral presentations
  3. Apply methods of analysis appropriate for each literary genre (prose, poetry, drama), specifically analyzing for meaning, tone, style, point of view, mood, etc.
  4. Adapt and/or cut literary selections for oral performance
  5. Employ appropriate introduction and transition techniques when preparing literature for performance
  6. Demonstrate understanding of the literature through effective vocal performance
  7. Demonstrate understanding of the literature through effective physical performance
  8. Listen critically in order to evaluate the quality/appropriateness of an oral interpretation performance and, when necessary, provide constructive criticism
  9. Collaborate as a group to produce an artful performance (Reader's Theatre, Choral Reading)

Course Measurements:

  1. Attendance
  2. Class participation in discussions and activities
  3. Mid-term Exam
  4. Final Exam
  5. Seven oral presentations selected from of variety of literary genres, styles, and tones
  6. Group reading
  7. Written and oral critiques (of self and peers)

Content Outline:

  1. Delivery
    1. Techniques
    2. Appropriate style
  2. Vocal Improvement
    1. Developing vocal flexibility
    2. Developing optimum pitch
    3. Developing correct breath control
    4. Developing acceptable pronunciation
  3. Literature
    1. Learning to analyze for total meaning
    2. Learning to select appropriate pieces
    3. Learning to work with different genres
      1. Poetry
      2. Prose (novel, short story, essay)
      3. Drama
      4. Speeches
  4. Group Reading (optional)
    1. Readers' Theatre
    2. Choral Reading
  5. Evaluation
    1. Of self
    2. Of other readers

This page developed and maintained by Communication. Send comments and suggestions to kbeauchene@ccri.edu .

Last Updated: 6/14/18