How To Teach Public Speaking To Kids
Want to improve your child’s public speaking skills? Here are some useful tips on public speaking for kids and how to select the right public speaking topics for kids.
By V Saravana Kumar • 10 min read
“Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yes, such is the power of speech. Therefore, of all the key life skills, public speaking is very important for kids.
Effective public speaking is an art that can keep the listeners spellbound. Great speakers around the world have touched the lives of millions of people through their engaging and enthralling speeches. An example is Swami Vivekananda’s inspiring speech at the World Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 1893. It is still remembered as one of the most spirited speeches in the history of mankind.
While the art of public speaking comes naturally to some children, most get butterflies in their stomach when asked to speak before a gathering.
If your child feels shy speaking in front of others or you want to improve her public speaking skills, here are a few vital tips on public speaking for kids.
Public speaking for kids: How to teach the art of public speaking
Public speaking for kids is a skill that brings with it many benefits like improved communication and leadership skills, confidence and popularity. If you also want your child to learn the art of public speaking, here is what you should encourage her to do:
- Listen to speeches: The best way to acquire public speaking skills is to learn it from those who have mastered it. So, take your child to public events where eminent speakers deliver their speech. If this isn’t possible, make your child listen to speeches by good public speakers available online. This will ignite in him a passion for public speaking.
- Read a lot: Reading is the best way to learn new words and ideas. It also helps in understanding how to frame phrases and sentences. Reading aloud improves diction and expression. Encourage your child to read a lot of books and newspapers. This will not only strengthen her vocabulary, but also make her speak with clarity.
- Train with peers: Ask your child to become a part of or get together a group of children interested in public speaking. You can allow the group to meet regularly in your house. This way, the children can listen to and learn from each other’s speeches, give feedback, point out mistakes, suggest ideas for improvement and become more confident. You can also become a part of the group and act as a guide.
- Learn to tell stories: Stories always sound interesting to listeners. Any public speaker who has the skill to weave little stories in his speech endears himself to the audience. Encourage your child to read a lot of stories. Usually stories from sources like the Panchatantra, Jataka Tales, Aesop’s Fables and Arabian Nights come in very handy. Also, teach him how to connect these stories with his speech.
- Be humorous: When everything else fails, humour comes to the rescue. A good public speaker delivers a humourous punch to lighten the mood and reconnect with the audience, especially when they begin to show signs of disinterest. Let your child practise the art of cracking a joke in the middle of a speech. For this, she needs to note down good jokes whenever she comes across them, and use them at appropriate times during her speech. She should also develop a natural sense of good humour.
- Utilise opportunities: Tell your child to utilise every opportunity to address an audience. The best place to do this is his school. Encourage him to address students whenever his teachers ask him to do so. He can also participate in elocution competitions, debates and discussions to hone his skills.
- Practise speaking: This is probably the most important tip. Everything gets better with practice, and the same applies to the art of public speaking. Ask your child to speak standing in front of a mirror, pretending to address a large audience. This will help him improve his pronunciation and accent, and fine-tune his body language which is vital in impressing the audience. He can also record his speech, play it back and listen to it. This will help him better his speaking skills.
Public speaking for kids: Speaking class for kids
Schools can play a big role in developing the public speaking skills of students. Although it is not a part of the usual curriculum, public speaking can be promoted as an extra-curricular activity. Here’s what schools can do to popularise public speaking for kids:
- Organise oratorical and debate competitions in the school, and make students participate in inter-school competitions
- Stock-up the libraries with books that help students develop speaking skills
- Make students listen to speeches of great public speakers
- Invite prominent speakers to conduct workshops on public speaking
- Encourage students to actively take up public speaking, by offering academic weightage to the skill
Public speaking topics for kids
Here are a few topics that your child can choose from, for practising the art of public speaking:
Topics for Kindergarten
- Who am I?
- Me and my family
Topics for Middle Schoolers
- Why I love my parents
- Visiting my grandparents
- All about my friends
Topics for Elementary Students
- My favourite game
- What I want to become
- The foods I love
- How do trees help us?
- Caring for our pets
- • My favourite cartoon characters
- What I do on a Sunday
- Never tell a lie
Topics for High School Students
- Our last summer vacation
- If I were a (doctor, politician, teacher, businessman, etc.)
- Saving nature
- Helping the poor and the underprivileged
- Things that make me happy/angry
- How to tackle global warming
- My favourite tourist spot
- A funny experience I had
- Thank you, teachers (Teachers’ Day speech)
- How does it rain?
- What’s in our universe?
- Swami Vivekananda’s teachings
- The importance of farming
- Telephones to cell phones – the evolution
- The rivers of India
- The life cycle of a butterfly
- How do things float on water?
- All about the Indus Valley Civilization
- Moral stories from Panchatantra (at least 2 stories)
- The health benefits of vegetables
- How is a rainbow formed?
- The greatest scientific invention
- Effects of pollution
- Health is wealth
- A stitch in time saves nine
- The importance of punctuality
- Ruskin Bond and his stories
- My most memorable train journey
- United we stand; divided we fall
- Hockey legend Dhyan Chand
- How do airplanes fly?
- The festivals of India
- Fortune favours the brave
- My favourite subject
- An interesting dream I had
- Say NO to plastics
- Dr Abdul Kalam – The people’s president
- Pros and cons of e-commerce
Public speaking for kids: Importance and benefits
So, why is public speaking for kids such an important skill? Let’s look at some of the benefits of the art of public speaking for children:
- Makes them feel confident in communicating with others
- Helps them overcome the fear and anxiety associated with voicing their opinions
- Encourages them to improve their reading and listening skills
- Improves their academic performance and overall knowledge
- Enhances leadership and management skills
- Teaches planning, discipline and time management
- Promotes logical and analytical thinking
Popular American speaking coach and author Nick Morgan says, "The only reason to give a speech is to change the world."
If you want your child to become a public speaker who can change the world, follow our tips and help him sharpen his oratory skills. Who knows, one day your child might inspire the world and enlighten the society through his speeches.
About the author:
Written by V Saravana Kumar on 7 August 2020.
The author is a writer, translator, editor, artist, graphic designer and a start-up enthusiast. He is also learning the art of parenting through his two teenaged children.
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