Public speaking skills come to our children in several ways; some through the public school system and others through the home environment.
At my child’s school, speaking skills are learned and practiced through oral book reports. In addition to writing the book report, the child has to speak in front of his peers and teacher giving all the important points of the book. All the elements of speaking are present in presentation, organization and delivery. While this is a daunting task for a grade schooler, it provides the basic foundation for public speaking.
In the home, the child is encouraged and his skills are validated. If he is highly developed in one skill over another, those skills can be brought forward and praised. He’ll gain confidence knowing that he has the ability to perform well. Having the child practice his book report with the parent or family unit helps with preparation and can reduce stage fright. Practical suggestions may be given, but there is no need for over critiquing the child.
I read books to my child, but every once in a while we change roles where he is the reader and I am the listener. I don’t critique him, but if he is speeding over the words I ask him to slow down so I can understand the words better. The exercise helps him to recognize some of the issues with articulation and enunciation.
Public speaking skills are valuable and will take your child into new dimensions of learning.