Family Focus

Voice acting to build confident readers in the classroom

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Let’s face it, reading isn’t everybody’s favorite thing to do, but for one local entrepreneur, he’s looking to help kids enjoy it one class at a time. It’s not with books, it’s from voice acting.

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What was once a struggle or Octavius Davis, is now a learning lesson for others. It all starts with a microphone, the help of a mixer, and it turns into reading magic.

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“Give the best you can with what you have but it doesn’t take a look to make a huge impact,” Davis said.

It’s called Da Million Dollar Voice Academy after school literacy program, something Davis teaches to help kids become better, confident readers in the classroom.

“The goal is to help them become excited and energetic about reading, often times they say reading is fundamental but often times it ends up being boring-damental,” he said.

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It’s a three pronged approach, between comprehension, creative writing and speed reading.

“Reading different stories and at the end I quiz them on the who, how, when, where, why and how and we also look to identify emotions of characters,” he said.

“I have them write out their own stories, again with who, what, when, where, how, why,” he added. “Then when they come to the microphone to read their creative writing piece I ask them to put in motion to identify with characters and lets see if the class can figure out the emotion.”

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The after school program is at the Police Athletic League Monument Road location, where fourth graders like Nehemiah Scott-Robinson comes to learn.

“I like Mr. O and I like reading from the microphone and reading in front of class, it’s fun because you get prizes,” he said.

Davis said the course is for students up to eighth grade and even if you don’t win a prize, Davis says the real prize is seeing kids enjoy reading.

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“To see how the kids are taking to the program and diving into the characters excited about read for speed, it reminds me of a promise I made to my 14-year-old self when I said I wanted to be a voice actor,” Davis said.

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