where can I read things out loud for fun?
December 17, 2019 2:10 PM   Subscribe

I enjoy reading out loud for other people or an audience (or as a recording). Can I do this as a hobby/volunteer thing? I live in Toronto, Canada.

I often enjoy reading articles or books out loud to my partner when they're driving, or at bedtime. I don't mind what I read - I like fiction and non fiction, and when I was in university I was an academic aide for another disabled student and I enjoyed reading his text books out loud to him.

I think I'm ok at it, but I'm not a voice actor or performer. I would be interested in more opportunities to read out loud productively.


I don't really want to interact with people much otherwise, so I'm not so interested in volunteer positions where reading to people is part of a set of other duties/socializing.

I'm not great with kids, so a position where I'd read books to them in silly voices at a library wouldn't be good for me.
posted by robot-hugs to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Some of my friends do recordings ("podfics") of favourite stories on AO3; there are quite a few: Audio Content works
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:16 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

You can record Wikipedia articles. And, if you wish to avoid the bureaucracy of English Wikipedia, there is the oft overlooked Simple English Wikipedia. It's a wiki with very few editors so less interaction and it benefits language learners and kids who can't yet read the long articles on the main wiki. Instructions here.
posted by Gotanda at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2019

We volunteer at our local animal shelter, and they have volunteer opportunities to read to the animals, I think for socialization purposes. Maybe that would be of interest?
posted by widdershins at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

You can make recordings of public domain books as a volunteer for LibriVox, a provider of free audiobooks.
posted by mskyle at 2:18 PM on December 17, 2019 [10 favorites]

I don’t know if technology has replaced this, but when I was in college a friend of mine was blind and people could get paid by the disability office to read texts out loud to her. If this is still a thing humans do, it might be a good opportunity?
posted by centrifugal at 2:22 PM on December 17, 2019

Try these:
The National Library Service at https://www.loc.gov/nls,
http://www.pointsoflight.org/global/our-network local library, or
posted by NotLost at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2019

Coming here to say Librivox. In the US there are books read by volunteers for the National Library for the Blind (you're making audiobooks, not reading directly to people). I can't tell if CNIB has this volunteer option (looks like no) but it looks like LearningAlly does have this option and they work with readers in Canada even though they are based in the US. You could also call CNIB because I bet they would know if there are more local options.
posted by jessamyn at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


"We’re a community of readers, listeners and storytellers who read stories aloud together."
posted by maya at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2019

AFAIK, CNIB still uses volunteer narrators for audiobook production (although it's not clear if they're accepting new volunteers). I did this for the better part of a decade (in Toronto), and it sounds like what you're looking for (when I did it, the minimum commitment was a two-hour weekly shift, and they had evening and daytime shifts available, and I narrated everything from magazine articles to full-length novels and nonfiction books). They don't seem to have any info about volunteering with the recording studio available, so you might want to contact them directly about it. Their volunteer intake form still lists it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:41 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Someone I knew volunteered at Crane Library at UBC in Vancouver as a volunteer narrator. Would there be a Toronto library offering a similar service?
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 2:46 PM on December 17, 2019

Might be a good idea to call a Seniors Assisted Living home near you and ask if their residents would be interested in having you volunteer - you could do it 1:1 in 20 minute time slots where they'd bring their own book; or you could invite a group to a common area and read to everyone together from a book you choose and announce in advance. In that case you'd want a mic.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:50 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

The Toronto Humane Society has a program for reading to animals. Perhaps get in touch with them about volunteering.
posted by dobbs at 3:42 AM on December 18, 2019

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