Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How I Got My Struggling Reader Prepped for His First Oral Presentation

My son, Dominic (in 2nd grade), just conquered his first oral report!

Yes, we "homeschool" but my homeschooled kids also attend a study center twice a week, which, among numerous other benefits, affords them opportunities that are often unique to a classroom setting.  A couple weeks ago, Dominic was instructed to prepare for his first oral presentation (a report, not a recitation of something from memory.)  The assigned topic was Ancient Roman roads.

Dominic is still not a fluent reader.  To be quite frank, he's still a struggling reader.  When I first heard about the presentation he'd have to make, I questioned whether he'd be able to do it.  Reading a prepared speech from index cards would not be an option.  I knew Dominic could memorize a lot of information about Roman roads, but I couldn't be sure that he'd present it all in the right order, or that he'd remember half of it once he was standing up in front of his classmates.

How could I prepare him and provide him with materials to give him the best chance at success in his first oral report??

Cue the cartoon light bulb above the genius mom's head!  I decided we'd come up with cue cards that were a combination of written and illustrated "cues."

Here's how we did it...

First, we read all the age-appropriate information we could find on Ancient Roman roads.  We read it all twice. 

Next, Dominic told as much of it back to me as he could.

He told me what parts he thought would be the most important to include in his speech, and I jotted down his notes.

Then together we decided what pictures and easy-to-read words would help him recall what he wanted to say about each point.  I created the cue cards, but he was right next to me telling me what he wanted them to look like (it was his report after all... and he'd have to be able to "interpret")  (Now that he's done it once, I think if he were to prepare for another talk, I would let him create the cue cards himself.) 

We arranged the information and numbered the cards.

And then he practiced.  Many, many times :)    

It worked beautifully!  Although I wasn't there to witness the "real" thing, he assured me his presentation went very well.  I was so happy and proud that even though he's still working on writing and reading, it didn't prevent him from giving an informative and organized presentation to his friends and tutors!  

Yay, Dominic!   I'm so proud of you!  

Here's a recording of Dominic practicing the night before the classroom presentation...  
(photos of the cue cards are below - um... they're very rudimentary...AND A WORD IS MISSPELLED.  "Bad Speller" is part of who I am.  Don't judge me.  I'd be sad...) 



  1. Awesome!! and as a mama of later readers I well understand the effort that went into this!!

  2. Dear Dominic, Excellent presentation! Well delivered and researched. Great job, dear Godson! You are quite the young scholar!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I've passed your praise on to the young scholar :) Thank you!

  3. I think the cue cards are great! I honestly think it's important for kids to be able to present information (using cue cards or bullet points) rather than just reading off a prepared speech or list of facts - it makes them better communicators. I bet this was a great boost to his confidence and it sounds like he did a great job!

    1. Great point about making presentations w/o actually reading. I always appreciate your comments, Willow! Thanks!


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