Take the Library of Congress Center for Young Readers Presidential Podium Video Challenge. Prepare your own presidential remarks, record them, and submit for a chance to be featured in LOC President’s Day celebrations.
While the particulars of childhood have changed drastically since the 18th century, one thing is for certain: all forty five presidents of the United States were, at one point, little kids.
Some were picky eaters.
A few fought with their siblings.
Several had chores around the house.
If you’re a kid today, the presidents of the United States probably weren’t all that different from you. That’s why I’m excited to share an engaging, interactive event: The Library of Congress Center for Young Readers’ Presidential Podium Video Challenge.
This President’s Day, the newly-opened Center for Young Readers will host an open house in honor of past presidents. Children in attendance will have the chance to give their remarks from the CYR Presidential Podium.
But the Library of Congress wants to extend the opportunity to children all over the country, which is why they’re offering the Presidential Podium Video Challenge. They’ve invited children in grades K-12 to plan, record, and submit a one-minute presidential address in response to the following prompt:
With permission from your parent, teacher, or guardian, we invite you to grab a camera and submit a one minute video telling us about:
An important problem you would fix, or
Something you would create to make our country a better place.
Selected speeches will be shown during the Open House Event and posted on the Center for Young Readers website.
Why take part in the Presidential Podium Video Challenge?
It’s a lesson in Civics
As citizens of the United States of America, we all have the responsibility, regardless of age, to be involved in the future of our country.
It’s a lesson in critical thinking and empathy
You’ll have the opportunity not only to consider what problems you face, but challenges and difficulties other people experience as well.
It’s a lesson in composition
Speech writers have to consider a variety of issues: how will I organize my ideas? What kind of language will persuade my audience? You’ll answer those questions, too, and hone your writing skills while you’re at it.
It’s a lesson in public speaking
Giving a speech requires poise and charisma. You’ll have the opportunity to practice these skills through tone of voice and body language.
How do I plan my presidential remarks?
I’ve got a handy printable, but here’s the low-down:
- Make two lists: what do you like about America? What do you want to change?
- Revise your lists: are my ideas specific or general? Am I saying, “I like that I can play soccer” instead of “I like that we are free?”
- Choose your favorite topic from each list. Brainstorm your evidence – what makes the good things good? How would you change the things that need to be addressed?
When you’re ready, write your speech. Some things to consider:
- What would you say to people who disagree with you? How could you address that in your speech in a kind way – a way that would gently change your listener’s mind?
- What will make the speech sound like you? Could you use humor? Props?
- Where you should pause? Speak quickly? What would give your speech dramatic effect?
- What makes a good opening? Should you start with a quotation? A quick story about you or someone you know?
- What makes a good closing? What feeling do you want your audience to come away with? Should you encourage your audience to take action?
- Speak clearly and slowly
- Stand in good lighting
- Make eye contact with the camera
- Use appropriate body language
Most of all, have fun! This is a great opportunity to flex your leadership and speaking muscles. Who knows? You might be president some day – and you’ll be able to fall back on your very first speech.