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Rehearsed Talk

Who? Rehearsed talk can be used as a learning strategy for students of all ages K-12 and beyond.

What? Rehearsed talk should have specific goals, clear expectations and a defined time for students to rehearse and prepare what they are going to say.

Where? Students can present to a partner, small group or the whole class.

When? This strategy can be used in any content area.

Why? Oral language is acknowledged to be an important part of the curriculum and accounts for a large percentage of the primary language arts programme.

How? Develop criteria for rehearsed talk with the students. Set clear expectations. Model each step. Have the students practise each step until they can demonstrate the ability to work independently.

Step #1

  • The teacher sets a specific task (reciting a poem, presenting a piece of information, giving directions,etc.).

Step #2

  • Each student is give time to rehearse.

Step #3

  • Each student makes the presentation (alone or in a small or large group).

Step #4

  • The teacher encourages and thanks the speaker(s).

Together the teacher and students develop criteria for what a good speaker and listener looks like (on the outside and the inside). For example:

  • On the outside a good listener looks at the speaker, sits still, acknowledges the speaker with a nod, does not interrupt, and asks questions only when appropriate.
  • On the inside a good listener stays focussed, asks mental questions and tries to determine the main idea.
  • On the outside a good speaker waits until the listener is ready, sits or stands still, speaks clearly, speaks at an appropriate pace and stays on topic.
  • On the inside a good speaker is aware of the audience and stays focussed.

  • The teacher posts the criteria on chart paper.
  • The teacher models the respectful behaviour.
  • The teacher introduces the steps for rehearsed talk and gives lots of time for the students to practise.
  • The teacher is consistent with the framework for rehearsed talk and the expectations for student behaviour.

Students should start with topics for which they have lots prior knowledge, such as:

  • a song, poem, or chant for a special occasion or theme of study
  • the presentation of information for a theme of study
  • the giving of instructions for a game, event, science experiment, etc.
  • a book talk
  • the presentation of a model, piece of artwork, mask, etc.
  • "Learning to Speak Speaking to Learn" is an article written by Brenda Boreham in the May/June 2011 issue of Canadian Teacher Magazine. This article outlines a rehearsed speaking activity called News Clues. This activity is a successful way to have every member of the class present information on a weekly basis and is a springboard for several extension activities. To view this lesson sequence please go to: