Lector Training

Lector Training


Opening Prayer


Almighty God, whose blessed Son read the Holy Scriptures in the synagogue: Look graciously upon the lectors of your Church, and so enlighten them with wisdom and understanding that they may read your holy Word to the glory of your Name, and for the building up of your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


What Holy Scripture is?  Name adjectives and synonyms that apply to Holy Scripture


What Holy Scripture is not?  The aim of the Lector is to read in such a way that those hearing will want to read and hear more.  Beware the three “d’s” . . . Holy Scripture is neither drab, nor dull, nor deadly.


Holy Scripture is diverse


  1. Holy Scripture includes Narrative (e.g., Genesis 18:20-33)

Narratives use “descriptives” to set the scene or hint at mood or emotion.  Does your reading of narrative reflect the mood or emotion the descriptives suggest?


  1. Holy Scripture includes Poetry (e.g., Philippians 2:5-11)

Poetic passages use imagery to paint a picture. Think of poetry as music.  It is visceral, meant to evoke an emotional response.


  1. Holy Scripture includes Parables (e.g. Luke 8:4-15)

Parables are teaching stories with a surprise ending used by Jesus to illustrate a point or concept.  Use pauses and visualization to increase effectiveness.


  1. Holy Scripture includes Discourse (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:20-31)

Discourse is best understood within the larger context.  Break it down.  Establish the movement.  If you don’t know who is speaking when, neither will the hearer. If your focus is unclear or wavers, so will the focus of your hearer.



Basic Principles – Remember the Five P’s

v Presence – be confident; the congregation is waiting to hear what you have to say.  Be aware of what your body is saying about the text you are reading.  While listening people also are gazing upon your eyes, your face, and your posture.

v Pace – we all read too fast.  SLOW IT DOWN so that our ears have time to catch up with your words.  When you think you are reading too slow, you probably have it just right, so breathe.

v Punctuation – obey punctuation.  With the exception of writings by the Apostle Paul who tends to be long winded, punctuation serves a good purpose.  Pause at commas.  End at periods – don’t go rushing on through the period as if there was nothing there.  Exclamation points add emphasis and energy.  Use that energy. Can your audience tell when a statement is a question and how?

v Pronunciation – you are sure to get the meaning across if you take the time to pronounce all the vowels and especially the consonants.  Vowels carry the text – consonants bring clarity.

v Projection  – Consider yourself to be s/he who must be heard.  Check the volume and the tone (do you mean to sound angry??? Or happy??? Or sad???). Are you mumbling?  Is your reading monotonous or captivating? Can we hear you now???


Leading the reading of a psalm requires choices (BCP, 582)

                    Direct recitation  – Let us recite our psaltery reading together in unison.

                        Antiphonal recitation is the verse-by-verse alternation between groups of singers or readers; or between one side of the congregation and the other. Let us recite our psaltery reading antiphonally (don’t forget to add by whole verse or half verse or what ever instruction clues the congregation in on what to do)

                        Responsorial recitation is the name given to a method of psalmody in which the verses of a psalm are sung by a solo voice, with the choir and congregation singing a refrain after each verse or group of verses.

Practical Exercise

Closing Prayer and Dismissal




Lay Worship Leader Training for Lectors

Trinity Episcopal Church


Resources for Future Use

(from VTS LTG Class, Fall 2009)

The internet is full of resources to assist the Lector.



http://bible.oremus.org/  NRSV Bible




Book of Common Prayer




Pronunciation Guides

http://m-w.com Merriam Webster Dictionary



Lectionary Page


Books that can help

Public Reading of Scripture: A Handbook by Clayton J. Schmit, Abingdon Press, Nashville Tennessee, 2001. ISBN 0-687-04537-1