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I'm looking for recommendations for speeches middle-schoolers can memorize; I am looking for suggestions for famous speeches that students in sixth to ninth grade can memorize. They can be longer speeches we can cut down. Currently, I have: "I Have a Dream," "The Gettysburg Address," and "The Declaration of Independence" (I know that it's not a speech). Thanks!

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I completely agree with the value of having students memorize passages and speeches.  I teach English Language Arts, and I always make my students choose an at least fifteen line poem to memorize and recite.  Poetry is extremely effective for students to practice public speaking in terms of rhythm, cadence, and clarity of diction.  A really interesting idea to consider in correlation with your speech assignment would be to ask the students to work in pairs, having one student memorize a historical speech and the other student to find and memorize a poem that has content or a theme that complements the other student's speech. 

For example, one student could memorize an excerpt from Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, and the other student could recite Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" or Langston Hughes' poem "Dream Variations."  You could even include a written analysis piece at the end in which the students must compare and contrast the two different texts,...

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ramlakshmi | Student

Try Jawaharlal Nehru's Tryst with Destiny.

myapapaya | Student
Recommendations on Speeches for Middle Schoolers to Memorize

I am looking for suggestions for famous speeches that students in grades 6-9 can memorize.  They can be longer speeches we can cut down.

Currently, I have:

"I Have a Dream"

"The Gettysburg Address"

"The Declaration of Independence" (I know that's not a speech)

Thanks!

Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address (Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.)

Lyndon B. Johnson's "We Shall Overcome" speech 1965

 

latennista | Student

Definitely the Gettysburg Address; it's short but great, and marked a pivotal point in history  ;)