A speech, monologue, oral book report, PowerPoint presentation, the constitution or any other long, one-person performance is one of the most difficult things to memorize. Even shorter speeches can be hard to memorize. But not impossible. Here are nine tips to getting the task done:

1) Depending on the length of the piece, give yourself several WEEKS to get memorized. If you don't have weeks then you'll have to cram. Better memorization comes over a length of time.
2) Work on it EVERYDAY, or almost everyday. It doesn't need to be long work sessions, just a bit everyday.
3) Write or type up and print out, then highlight the speech (monologue, presentation, etc.) in different colors. First, writing it out helps with the brain catch on. Second, highlighting sections of your piece in different colors gives you a visual indication of the words--again, helping your brain to catch on.
4) Record it. Use whatever portable device you have handy and record your presentation. Now play it back as you are in the midst of physical labor that doesn't require you to think much--cooking, yard work, cutting firewood, walking, feeding the birds, driving (but do stop for the red lights).
5) Take it sentence by sentence. Read sentence one. Now read sentence one and two. Now read sentence one, two and three...keep going. You can also take it paragraph by paragraph.
6) Give yourself cues. A PowerPoint already has your bullet points of ideas or pictures to let you know what's next. If you have a speech you can make pictures for, do it. If you're won't have pictures for what you're doing, draw reminder doodles on the sides of your paper to use as you memorize.
7) Come up with gestures to go along with your piece. Always do the same gestures at the same places during your monologue. It's just another cue to get your brain to grasp the words.
8) Get a helper. Let them hold your script and correct you as you flub. At some point, you've got to put your paper down or that will turn into a physical cue for your speech. That's why so many people can recite something they've memorized as long as they can hold the paper in their hand. So put down the paper often, too.
9) Repeat. Any of these steps can be used over again as you get your speech memorized. Use them constantly and you will get it!

Take heart. Memorizing is possible. And you might find other ways to memorize than what's on this list.


 
After a week of classes, our young clowns put on a performance for their families. First was the face painting. The kids decorated parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins, using designs they created themselves. Second, there was balloon twisting. It didn't matter some of them couldn't tie their own balloons; it only mattered that they could twist those balloons into dogs, giraffes, mice and hats. Then they demonstrated juggling--first with one ball, then with two, finally with three. None of the kids caught the balls when there were three in their hands but it's the process that counts on this one. The point is--they tried! After that, they performed skits with objects, noises and no words. Those skits lasted all of 30 seconds each. And to finish off the 30-minute program, the young clowns used jokes as more skit material (this time they got to talk). They did great for their demonstration/performance. That's the ticket sometimes--a shorter show, with simpler activities allows the kids to be successful. And our clowns were. (A big thank you to the family members who enthusiastically let their clowns draw on their faces and arms.)
 
Perhaps to many, a how-to theatre book for elementary school teachers seems a bit much. Shouldn't the teachers teach the basics? Why, yes. And theatre is that other art form that will help do just that.

Theatre teaches Reading, Writing, Innovation and Communication (among other things). But no one mentions that; it's just lumped under "Theatre."

The great thing about our new book is it's designed for non-theatre teachers. Through simple activities--that take only about 15 minutes to do--children start learning applicable-to-life theatre skills. It's do-able! for both teachers and students.

We're excited it's finally here and we have a venue to get it out. We're excited that it will soon be followed by the home version for parents, grandparents, homeschoolers and anyone else with a few children in their group of beginner thespians.