Singing the texts, at least on solemn occasions, reminds us that this is no ordinary text but God's word to us. It also fixes the attention very much on the word itself.
In 2005 a reader offered the following valuable suggestion based on experience, which I think is worthwhile repeating:
"When teaching lectors and seminarians, I have found it useful to tell them to think of themselves as 'being on the radio' rather than 'performing on TV.' This causes them to think how best to use their voice to proclaim the word of the Lord, undistracted by 'looking at the congregation, facial movements, gestures, etc. This approach allows the reader to take account of the listeners, making as clear as possible the sense of the text in front of them -- when God is speaking via their mouth. It also allows them to realize that the 'spoken word' they speak is God's word alive and so the most important thing. It also avoids the temptation to 'dramatize the text.'"Himself and I have schtick, (shtick? shtik?) imitation an uber-dramatic lay reader at a parish in, (where else?) a theatrical community, Danversesque enough on the actual reading, hysterically so on "The word........ of....... the Lord," dropping her sepulchral voice at least an octave for the final two word.
And I've recently noticed that it is something against which I have to guard.
I receive a lot, a LOOOOOOOOOOOOT of compliments on my proclamation, not because I am particularly good but because many of the readers at my current parish are particularly bad.
Besides handling proclamation duties for Communion services in nursing homes, I read from time to time in the parish church itself, and specially in season, our congregation's collective age is really up there.
We have people who place there own devices on the ambo to transmit sound directly to them, (if only I had known of such devices when Mom was alive and deprived of really enjoying Church/opera broadcasts/tennis on TV, I'm assuming these same devices can somehow work with television,) and we have far more parishioners who could really use such technology
Besides volume -- I hold still, and insisted when choosing children and teens to chant or lead songs, (I couldn't do anything about those already in the cantor corps when I arrived, or the readers,) that if ones projection is insufficient when un-mic'ed one should not yet be allowed to read or sing with a mic' -- the most important aspects on which to focus are enunciation of consonants, particularly final, (thank you!) and punctuation or prehaps more accurately implied punctuation, (thank you!,) as it indicates phrasing.
Oh, and yeah, look up all those Old Testament names before hand, if necessary. Remarkable numbers of lay readers don't seem to have checked out "their" readings before arriving at church.
And if you're a woman, pitch your voice as low as you comfortably and naturally can. (As we age,hearing loss at hgihger frequencies tends to occur more rapidly than at lower, making men generally easier to hear for an aging population.)
But all of that is martha-ing.
First and last, as a reader or lector, remember that you are praying, not acting.
Get your mary on.