Deliver a Speech Delivery Versus Read the Writing

Writing

Deliver a Speech Delivery Versus Read the Writing

Posted on May 19, 2008

Deliver a Speech Delivery Versus Read the Writing

Deliver a speech rather than read the writing

Q: I recently had students present an oral summary of a nonfiction piece they wrote. I told them they shouldn't just stand up in front of the class and read the whole piece to us, yet most of them did. HELP! How do I get students to deliver a speech and not just read their writing?

A: The key would be not to let them take the whole draft with them to the front of the room. If they have it to reference, they'll be tempted to read from it. Rather, when the final draft is written and you are preparing them for their oral presentations:

  1. First, ask students to list what they remember about their topics off the top of their heads (without looking at their writing). The details they remember are the most interesting and often the most important. This activity also helps students practice "talking" about their topics rather than "reading" about the topics.
  2. After listing these first recollections, then have students reference their writing for any additional details that are important.
  3. Third, provide students with a general framework of your expectations for the oral presentation (specifics you want them to tell about, time length, etc.)
  4. Finally, give each student a single 3x5 note card. Have them transfer the key information from steps 1 & 2 in a logical order (according to step 3) onto their note cards. You might even stipulate that they can't write complete sentences on their cards; this keeps them from reading them. You could also limit their written notes to only one side of the card.

One final thought -- before presentations begin, generate a rubric with students for assessing a "Good Oral Presentation." It might include traits like: eye contact, ease of speaking, apparent expertise of topic, etc. This helps students clearly identify the expectations.