Here are just a few tips that helped me, especially as a shy person, with public readings:
1. Use different voices for each character.
The majority of my characters in Pirates of the Lost Cove have English accents so I listened to English accents and practiced them.
2. Don’t keep your eyes glued to the page.
If you keep your eyes on the book, then you enter into your own little world and exclude the audience; this is hard to avoid as a shy person but you’ll be able to do it; it is your book, you know it well…
3. Pick a chapter that excites you and that leaves the audience wanting more.
After the reading, the children told me that they were going to beg their parents to buy the book for them. 😆
4. Don’t give too much information on the plot and don’t give too little.
5. GET THEM INVOLVED. I was reading to younger kids, so I assigned them characters and let them act out the book themselves; when it was time for me to leave, they didn’t want me to go… how flattered I was 🙂