Skill Builders 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.
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.
To see which club your child is right for, click here to see our club readiness guidelines.
Enrollment accepted year-round, as long as there is space in the club.
More info can be found on our FAQ page. Scroll down to read about what happens at a typical 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.
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.
To see if Skill Builders is right for your child, click here to see our club readiness guidelines.
The adult supervisor of the club is called the club Chairperson. Skill Builders’ Chairperson is Julia Morgan. She homeschooled her two children who are in college now (SMU and UT Dallas). Julia is the founder of the Speakers League organization, and continues to work in consultation with people in the field of child development and special needs to fine-tune the Skill Builders Speakers League curriculum. Both professional and personal experience have given Julia the opportunity to learn how to tailor resources in academics for various abilities, which is the goal of Skill Builders.
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