Reading your writing aloud is well known as an essential part of the editing process. But what about reading other people’s writing out loud? You may not have done it since you were a child, but I think that reading other people’s work can help you write better.
You get to know what works – and what doesn’t. You get a sense of how sentence structure, word choice, pace and rhythm all work together to (hopefully) create an effective story. It’s a learning experience, just like when you were a kid. And if you’re like me and you tend to skim read, you’ll pick up details you might otherwise miss which just enhances the experience. It’s especially worth it with poetry, because it really is designed to be read out loud, to dance on the tongue and play on the lips.
I’m not suggesting you start spouting Fifty Shades of Grey on your morning train commute (although that would be amusing), but if you’re by yourself, or even with a willing companion, why not give it a try? Or have you already tried it?