Now in development, our Junior Speakers League (formerly Skill Builders) club charters will be available soon. Join our list for updates.
Who is a good fit for a Junior Speakers League club?
Junior Speakers League clubs are a great place to learn public speaking skills for children who need a little extra time or assistance. This includes younger children (beginning around age 6), but also older kids (up to age 17) who may be especially shy or have mild special needs. (Readiness guidelines outlined on this page.)
How does Junior Speakers League differ from a standard Speakers League club?
Junior Speakers League follows the same basic format as a Speakers League meeting, including opportunities for impromptu speaking, prepared speeches, and speech evaluations. The meeting is managed with patience and focused on making sure the members understand the process and their roles. The materials are simpler, the speeches are shorter in the Basic (3-5 min.) and Intermediate Levels (4-6 min.). In the Advanced Level they are essentially operating at the level of a Speakers League club member, presenting full 5-7 minute speeches and using the Speakers League evaluation guideline form.
Junior Speakers League clubs do not have club officer positions.
Although Junior Speakers League clubs are adult led, the presence of a parent or other adult aide may be permitted (or requested) to ensure any needs are met that might arise for the member. (A parent or aide can attend to multiple children if they are siblings.)
In Junior Speakers League, each child is seen as an individual and is able to proceed at a pace that is appropriate for him or her.
What happens at a typical Junior Speakers League meeting?
Meetings follow the same basic format each time. The adult facilitator, referred to as the Club Chairperson, makes any necessary announcements and goes over the club schedule for the day and makes sure that the members are ready for their roles. The members are pre-assigned to a specific role at the meeting (these rotate from meeting to meeting). A member might be assigned to be the Timekeeper, Vote Counter, a Speaker, an Evaluator, or the MC, for example. Members learn how to do these roles through a combination of reviewing their member handbook (see sample pages here), training videos, and practice activities in the club.
In addition to the meeting roles mentioned above, Junior Speakers League members periodically present prepared speeches, starting with the “Focus on You” speech, and then the “Focus on Gestures” speech, and “Focus on Vocal Variety,” “Focus on Visual Aids” “Focus on Organizing,” and “Focus on Knowledge” speeches. Each 3 – 5 minute speech in the Basic Level is geared to develop a different presentation skills. There are three levels in Junior Speakers League – Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.
While many children in the club develop a readiness for a regular Speakers League club, and eventually transfer, some members remain with Junior Speakers League, because it remains the best fit for them.
How do the members learn how to do the different roles and learn how to give a speech?
When members join, they receive a Member Handbook that, among other things, describes how to do each role at a meeting. Members learn how to do their roles through a combination of reviewing their member handbook (see sample pages here), training videos, practice activities in the club, and observing. Of course, the club chairperson (the adult supervisor of the club) provides help where needed, as well as the parent or aide, if necessary.
Junior Speakers League video conference meetings work well!
Attention and Focus
I don’t feel confident because I have never taught a class. Should I still get a charter?
The materials have been created to allow you to manage a club of children who meet the readiness guidelines outlined here. The degree of readiness suggested should permit a competent adult to supervise a club without too much difficulty. With the requirement of a parent or other aide for a child who requires assistance, you should find that you can manage a club easily. If you cannot, one or more of the children would probably not be considered “ready.”