Monday, September 24, 2012

Speech Class

Carnival of Homeschooling

You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, they won’t get you anywhere.
 Lee Iacocca

Mumbling, rambling, giving too much information, inappropriate speech, and interrupting are all behaviors that need to be corrected in children (taking into consideration age appropriateness).  We cannot stop at correction, especially as our children are approaching the middle school/high school years! Training is a must, if we want our children to grow up and become exceptional communicators. 

We have very talkative children, which just happens to be in their genetic make-up. We deal on a daily basis with the above mentioned behaviors.  Until recently, we've basically only corrected these behaviors.  Now, we want to use some new tips/strategies to train them to become great speakers (and frankly, to lessen our frustration).

Model good speaking habits.

Speak clearly!  

Look people in the eye.

Try not to use excess words like "um", "uh", and well, "like".

Know when to stop talking...(that's a hard one).  

Use key words to help your children focus their thoughts. 

"Rewind"- When it seems like your child is stammering and not quite able to match their thoughts with words, say "rewind".  Have them stop, think and then start from the beginning. 

"TMI"- Sometimes our kids get caught up in their descriptions of things that they can give too much information.  It wears out the listener to have someone excessively talking about a topic

Teach the importance of judging your audience and situation.  

We communicate differently in various situations.  Communicating in an emergency should sound differently from a casual conversation.  Children need to be instructed in the appropriate ways to address policemen, judges, etc.   Our children also need to realize that some adults do not have as much patience as their parents, when it comes to listening to long explanations. 
Role play is a great way to help train our children in this area. 

Give kids the opportunity to practice speaking skills

Use tongue twisters or silly poems--have a child read these aloud focusing on enunciation.  Being understood is the key. 

Reading aloud to younger siblings.

Have mock impromptu speaking opportunities.

We started by going over the basics of impromptu speaking.  I condensed this article:  Impromptu Speaking Techniques

I found several websites with impromptu speaking topics:

Then I found a list of one word topics:  zoology, time zones, Olympics, technology

I printed out the topics and cut them into little strips.  I gave each child an index card, and instructed them to pick a topic, but do not tell us what it was.   They were given 5 minutes to construct a speech on their topic.  They were told to make notes on the card to help them in the delivery of the speech.  We emphasized that they should make sure to state and restate their topic within the speech. 

Then, they give their speech...we applaud.  When everyone is done, we try to guess their topic and give constructive criticism--that means we say something nice and we say something they could work on for next time.  (Even Michael wanted to give a speech...and pajamas are appropriate speech giving attire when you are three.)

Start not barrage your child with lots of things they didn't exactly do "right".  Pick one thing to work on. Other things will come later.  

Giving a speech is different from casual conversational speaking, but the skills learned can and will spill over.  

Here are two other great articles:

For more great articles, check out this week's Carnival of Homeschooling over at Corn and Oil


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