Some picture book writers say the only way they can “test” their manuscripts is by reading them aloud. I’d venture to say this holds true for any manuscript. Reading your work aloud allows you to hear the nuances of sound, dialogue, voice, and helps you pick out awkward structured passages and transitions. This has been on my mind recently because I’m taking up learning a second language (once again). It’s something I’ve always wanted to commit to, but have never had the chance to do it the right way, ie, go live in the darned country and learn to speak! Reading out loud in another language, especially with earphones on so that you’re entire family won’t make fun of you, puts a whole new spin on diction and word choice. It’s got me thinking about how babies learn to speak, and kindergartners learn to read, and of course, how writers learn to write. Every word…every phrase…chosen and hand-picked. Deliberate and delicious.