How to Read Poetry Aloud
Before reading poetry aloud:
Get to know the poem. Read it to yourself a few times.
Look up unfamiliar terms.
Practice hard-to-pronounce words so you won’t stumble over them.
Notice if the poem is from the perspective of a character. If so, choose a voice that will convey that character: high or low, young or old, gruff or kind, serious or silly, etc.
When reading aloud:
Relax. Most poetry is conversational. No need, usually, to be formal.
Read slowly and clearly. Sometimes a humorous poem might need more speed but even then make sure to enunciate and don’t rush the punchline.
Don’t give every word the same emphasis. Provide a little extra “punch” here and there.
Only pause when there is punctuation, as you would when reading prose.
Read with emotion but don’t overdo it. Let the words do the work.