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Volunteer for Audio-Reader

Reading for the blind and print-disabled

Audio-Reader, a closed circuit radio service for anyone who has difficulty reading standard printed material, airs more than 160 hours weekly of printed matter and special information to thousands of listeners throughout Kansas and western Missouri.

Lions Telephone Reader is a telephone/computer system into which 10 to 15 hours of the Kansas City Star and TV Guide are recorded each day.

This unique programming is made possible by volunteer readers who record or broadcast the various newspapers, magazines and books offered through Audio-Reader.

Audio-Reader volunteers include high school and college students, teachers, doctors, homemakers, retirees, and many others. They have a diversity of backgrounds and interests, but all share a common desire to help provide current information to those who can't read daily newspapers, magazines and best-selling books.

All Audio-Reader original programming is recorded in our studios in Lawrence, or (as in the case of most newspaper readings) broadcast live. Most volunteers live in the Lawrence area, but many commute from the Kansas City and Topeka areas.

Would you like to become an Audio-Reader volunteer? The following information will assist you in making that decision.

What are the qualifications for volunteering?

Before you are eligible to become a volunteer broadcaster for Audio-Reader, you must take and pass our audition for reading aloud. The audition consists of a 100-word pronunciation test a series of reading samples designed to test your ability to read a variety of materials written for a variety of reading levels. The reading test, which takes about 15 minutes, is recorded at our studios in Lawrence. Alternate arrangements may be made for those auditioning to read from our Alphapointe and Pittsburg locations.

Because Audio-Reader serves a primarily adult audience, and because many younger teens do not have the vocal maturity and vocabulary necessary to pass the audition, Audio-Reader prefers to accept volunteers age 18 and older. However, we recognize there are exceptions and will audition those who do not meet the age guidelines after they have carefully considered the information below. Two staff members and a volunteer will evaluate the audition and determine if the age guidelines should be lifted on a case-by-case basis.

How can I prepare for the audition?

The audition is a "cold" reading, so good sight-reading skills are essential. Although there is little you can do to prepare for the audition, you might find it helpful to consider the following list of characteristics by which your test will be evaluated:

Good pronunciation skills are essential. . The best way to practice is to read aloud from different newspapers so you can get a feel for the writing and editing styles, narrow column widths and types of vocabulary used.

Your audition will be evaluated for above average pronunciation skills, clear diction and voice quality. In addition, your reading should:
  • Flow smoothly, free from objectionable disturbances and frequent hesitations.
  • Be appropriate to the type of material being presented. It should be expressive, not exaggerated; relaxed, not stilted.
  • Exhibit a pace which is easy to follow and appropriate to the material being read.
  • Bring the material to life. It should make the listener want to hear more.

Our pronunciation test changes annually. All words are taken from materials we read on a regular basis. Here are a few words similar to those found on the audition:
  • Archetype
  • Loquacious
  • Indigenous
  • Obsequious
  • Camaraderie
  • Beleaguered
  • sesquicentennial

Your audition will be evaluated within a week. If you do not pass the audition on your first attempt you may be invited to spend some time practicing and re-take the test at a later date.

What will I read for Audio-Reader?

Assignment of reading material is determined by the volunteer (you) and the Coordinator of Volunteers. Decisions are based on the volunteer's interests, reading skills and schedule, and by the needs of the program. You will not be asked to read anything that is personally offensive to you. Most reading material is furnished by Audio-Reader.

Make Audio-Reader your project. It's rewarding and fruitful, the need is great, and there is much to do.

To find out more about volunteering for Audio-Reader, or to schedule an audition, call or email Jennifer Nigro, our Coordinator of Volunteers: