Now in development, our Skill Builders club charters will be available soon. Join our list for updates.
Who is a good fit for a Skill Builders Speakers League club?
Skill Builders 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 special needs. (Readiness guidelines outlined below.)
How does Skill Builders differ from a standard Speakers League club?
We modify the more businesslike Speakers League format of impromptu speaking, prepared speeches, and speech evaluations, by weaving in warm-up activities, learning games, and even a snack break, to provide a fun, individually-paced, progressively-challenging environment to learn public speaking skills and meeting management.
Although Skill Builders clubs are adult led, the presence of a parent or other adult aide may be required 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 Skill Builders, each child is seen as an individual and is able to proceed at a pace that is right for him or her.
What happens at a typical Skill Builders meeting?
Skill Builders meetings begin with a warm-up activity to get the kids participating and talking. These are generally quick, fun, and creative activities to get everyone into a positive frame of mind for communicating during the meeting.
Meetings follow the same basic format each time. Warm up activity, impromptu speaking opportunities, prepared speeches, snack break, and evaluations. 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. Of course, the club chairperson (the adult supervisor of the club) provides help where needed, as well as the parent or aide, if necessary.
In addition to the meeting roles mentioned above, Skill Builders members periodically present prepared speeches, starting with the “All About Me” speech, and then the “Just for Fun” speech, and “Exciting Time,” “Prized Possession,” “How To,” and “I Know a Lot About” speeches. Each 3 – 5 minute speech in the Basic Level is geared to develop a different presentation skill, including gestures, vocal variety, visual aids, etc. There are three levels in Skill Builders – 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 Skill Builders, 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.
Can quickly self-regulate, with or without assistance, to avoid episodes of non-participation or outbursts due to frustration.
Willing and able to verbally participate during all segments of the meeting and for any assigned roles.
Attention and Focus
In attendance at all meetings and seated beside the member until he/she can manage items above without assistance.
Drop off member, or observe from the side or rear of the room. No verbal interjection during the meeting, unless at request of club chairperson.
I don’t feel confident to teach children with special needs. Should I still get a charter?
While still in development, 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 each child who needs assistance, you should find that you can manage a club easily. If you cannot, the child would probably not be considered “ready.”