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Funeral Reading Ideas and Suggestions

Alice Wisler
Readings shape a funeral.

When a loved one dies, planning a service will most likely include funeral readings.

Types of Funeral Readings

Funeral readings can be very diverse. Thinking about the options of what can be included will help family and friends as they prepare for a meaningful service. Some suggestions are:

  • Poetry
  • Scripture verses from the Bible
  • Readings from literature
  • Readings created on your own
  • Liturgy
  • Sentiments from others
  • Grieving quotes
  • Eulogy
  • Memory of the deceased
  • Favorite quote of the deceased
  • Some of the most important things learned from the deceased
  • Prayers
  • Words of wisdom
  • Proverbs

Of course you will want whatever you chose to reflect the life of the person who has died. Also, if the deceased had his or her own selections he requested to be read, or hymns he wanted to be sung and played, be sure to consider his wishes and include those in the service. Personalizing a funeral or memorial service will benefit everyone attending.

Examples of Funeral Readings

As you search the Internet or at your local library, or even peruse from your own bookshelves at home, you will find appropriate sentiments to read at the funeral. You can find selections from the following sources:

  • The Bible, particularly Psalm 23
  • Excerpts from classics
  • Lines from plays by William Shakespeare
  • Inspirational or religious works

To help you, here is one example that will be suited to almost any funeral:

Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness or farewell,

When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar."

Preparing for the Reading

If you are asked to present a reading at a funeral, make sure to prepare adequately. After you find the piece that you plan to read, take time to go over it. Practice reading the selection aloud in front of the mirror at home. Go over any tricky words or words that are unfamiliar. The more comfortable you are with the reading, the better you will be able to present it at the funeral. If you are able to find someone willing, read it to him or her and get feedback. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

Presenting the Reading

As you present the reading of your choice at the funeral, use the following to guide you:

  • Stand tall
  • Read slowly
  • Enunciate the best you can
  • Keep it short
  • Keep a tissue or two at your side should you need it
  • Place a glass of water by your side as well in case your throat gets dry


The benefits of readings at funerals are many. Both the reader of the selection and the audience hearing the piece, will gain comfort and solace. While it is natural for tears to flow, the heartfelt pieces will be well-received by all. Keep in mind that funerals are for the living, so make sure that those closest to the deceased approve of what is read or said at the service. Running ideas by them first will make for a peaceful event. Funerals are stressful and the smoother the communication between all involved, the better.

Websites to Guide You

Funeral Reading Ideas and Suggestions