How to Engage Younger Students in Speech and Debate

I often get asked the questions… what age is best to start Speech and Debate, how do get my younger students engaged, what things can I do to help my child explore these areas? I love these questions!! I love working with students who think they will have no interest in Speech and Debate. Honestly, this is part of our jobs as Speech Coaches, Club Leaders, Teachers, and Mentors (and even parents). Over the next few weeks, we will be digging deeper on the subject of how to encourage growth for our children and students during these unique times…

What things can I do to help my child explore the world of Speech and Debate?

Oftentimes, younger students, especially siblings, will think “speech and debate is not for me.” They get a bad taste in their mouths… thinking it’s just about writing briefs, going to a boring debate camp, or sitting in club. Where is the fun in that? We know the skills students acquire in speech and debate are endless, but not everyone learns the same. How do we explore or find unique ways to introduce them to the skills speech and debate offer. I have answers…

A couple years ago I heard about a program that this woman created, helping kids to explore the world of speech and debate. A fun interactive approach, but she only ran her program in the summer, hours away from me. Eventually, I was introduced to this woman. Julie and I immediately connected! I loved hearing about what she does and I couldn’t wait to collaborate with her. Well, the time has come… and she is opening up her program to our online community!!

Her unique program basically introduces speech and debate to younger students and they don’t even know that they are learning the skills.

Using the classic fairy tales as the foundation for a court room dramas students will develop improvisation, storytelling, and trial advocacy role playing. They will build their skills in rhetoric and persuasive argumentation, as well as be challenged to defend, prosecute, and petition the court on behalf of their clients, as well as build consensus as members of a jury. But the lessons do not end there. Rooted in Biblical Worldview, relevant current events, and social situations, the class will be drawn into discussions, so students can search for wisdom beyond the verdict.

Through the imagination and the intellect, this program has an extraordinary capacity to reach untapped potential in children to connect them to one another. By nurturing their hunger for justice and fairness, Order in the Court equips young people with rhetoric skills, debate, moral reasoning, Biblical Worldview, and classic storytelling.

This is one of the online classes Lasting Impact! is running during Spring Quarter starting this week. The class meets weekly through Zoom on Thursdays from 10:00-11:00am CT for 5 weeks. It is geared for ages 10-14. Additionally, Julie has multiple cases and plans to offer full week camps in summer, and a semester class in fall. To sign up or learn more, Click HERE. For full complete list of Lasting Impact! Spring Quarter Classes (they start this week) Click HERE.

Julie Miller Romeo is the creator and director of the Fairy Tale Trials. She developed the Fairy Tale Trials and then produced a professional touring children’s theater ensemble to bring comprehensive law-related education to the Chicago Public Schools. With the support of a federal grant, she adapted the material to meet the needs of at-risk adolescents, produced an award-winning educational film, and created a course for middle-school students at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development.