Presentation Notes for Non-Readers

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Each class week at our classical co-op our grammar stage students do an oral presentation for their class. We have a list of topics that cover things like family traditions; favorite vacations; geographical locations, other favorites such as toys, books, or games; and even history topics.

The older kids’ presentations include notes, props, and time limits. I am their teacher and often have a hard time holding them to their three minutes.

The younger group is more brief in their presentations, but also use props and some even use notecards.

John likes to use a notecard to help him to remember the things he wants to talk about, but at six, he is not a strong enough reader to read the words related to his more complex topics discussed in his presentations.

So we have come up with a notecard using mostly pictures, symbols and some phonetically spelled words to help him with his presentation.

The Process

  1. John will tell me the specific topic he wants to talk about, and then usually we try to choose three points per topic.
  2. Once we have chosen the three points, I will draw a card for him with visual cues that remind him of his three points. He sits next to me as I draw, and we talk through the presentation for a second time.
  3. Finally he practices the presentation. We try to shoot for once a day for the three to four days leading up to co-op, but honestly we often go on less practice than that. The repetition insures that he remembers what each of my scribbles mean when the big day comes.

This is the card we made for his presentation about Japan. I scanned it with my phone. 😉

What it Looks Like

Here is a practice run that matches the card above from his Japan presentation.

More Examples

Here are a couple of other cards from earlier in the year. This first one about castles is from really early on and was pictures only.

As you can see, these early ones were pretty simple. He took his Imaginext Castle so the presentation was pretty cool, no matter what he had to say.

This card is from his presentation on Christmas traditions

Once again, the familiar pictures would remind him of the things that he wanted to say.

And that’s how we do it right now. The presentation twice a month has been great for the kids. They really have no problem getting up and speaking in front of a group in a formal or informal setting.

Linking this up with Trivium Tuesday Classical Link-up. Go check out all the great classical homeschooling ideas.



  • Tara says:

    What a great idea. I think older kids (read: mine!) could benefit from these cues as well. Mine tend to get bogged down in all the words on their paper and read instead of present. This may help cure them of that! Reminds me of an IEW outline. I grow weary of our presentations, but the kids love them. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Lisa says:

    I agree with Tara that this trick would work for older kids (or adults)! I am loving the videos you've been including of your examples!
    My recent post Project Snapshot {Week 6}

  • smallworldtn says:

    This is great! Thanks for submitting to this week's carnival of homeschooling.

  • adelien says:

    Don't say that this is just for the younger kids. My 10 and 12 years old kids will enjoy it also. Great idea.
    My recent post How to Choose “Just Right” Books: Helping Kids Grow as Readers By Becky Spence, A Review

  • Amy says:

    Love this! The video of your son is great =) Are you a part of Classical Conversations? I know they do presentations each week. We do a presentation in a little homeschool group I'm a part of, but there are only 5 kids, so it's not too intimidating =) Thanks for sharing at Trivium Tuesdays, it's a great idea!

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing.

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