How to Teach Public Speaking to Elementary Students

by Carolyn Robbins

    Sweaty palms, red face, fidgeting feet and lots of "um-ing" are all signs of the distress most elementary students feel when they are asked to give a speech. You can teach your child the art of public speaking by helping him to construct a thoughtful, well-organized speech and by affording him the opportunity to practice, practice, practice before the formal event.

    Step 1

    Brainstorm topic ideas. Your child will feel more confident making a speech if he is passionate about, or at least familiar with, the subject matter. Topics might include a favorite hobby, memories of a family vacation or a persuasive speech on why your child thinks he needs a bigger allowance.

    Step 2

    Create a preliminary outline. Instruct your child to write down everything he knows about his chosen topic. For instance, your child might write down instructional details or tips and personal feelings about his favorite hobby.

    Step 3

    Research online or at the local library. Fill in what your child knows with facts. For instance, if he is giving a speech about soccer, he might research the history of the sport. If he is describing a family vacation, he might look for information about the geography and culture of the vacation site.

    Step 4

    Help your child organize the material into an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction should be short, but catchy. Include a joke or anecdote to catch the audience's attention. The body of the speech should include two to five main points accompanied by supporting facts. Your child may wish to include short stories in the body to weave a narrative. The conclusion is a brief summary of the speech. Help your child find an applicable quote or anecdote to wrap up the subject matter.

    Step 5

    Encourage your child to write short notes on cards to help him if he gets lost during his speech. Don't allow him to write the entire speech on cards, though, or he'll be tempted to read and avoid eye contact.

    Step 6

    Assemble an audience of friends and family so that your child can practice his speech in a non-threatening environment. Encourage your child to speak slowly and engage his audience with eye contact. If he is fidgety, it may help him to hold onto a podium or table.

    Step 7

    Address your child's concerns before he gives his speech to a formal audience. Remind him that it is okay to feel nervous or scared. He doesn't have to give the speech perfectly. Encourage him to relax and simply tell his story.

    Tip

    • Record practice sessions so that your child can watch himself speak. It may be easier for him to correct mistakes if he catches them himself.

    About the Author

    Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.

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