Using Drama and Poetry to Improve on Your Oral Skills!

Hello, everyone! I am Ms Nuri, an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. By now, you should know that I love poetry and all manner of language arts!

For those of you in Primary 3 to Primary 5, your oral examinations should be around the corner. It is high time for you to polish your skills! Here at Lil’ but Mighty, we teach specific strategies in tackling and excelling in the two components of Oral, which are, Reading Aloud and Stimulus-Based Conversation. You can find out more with our Lil’ Chatterbox online course.

However, before you go into that, I would like to share with you two fun activities you can play with your friends and at the same time, improve your Oral skills. Who said preparing for examinations can’t be fun?

1. Think faster with “Yes, And!”

Stimulus-based conversation can be intimidating as sometimes it requires you to think of something to talk about, on the spot! This activity will increase your confidence and hone your mental agility in speaking aloud.

It is called, “Yes, And!”

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How To Play:

You need two players or more to play this game. So, play it with your siblings, parents or friends!

Each player will take a turn to say a sentence out loud in response to the person before them. All the sentences, except the one said by the first player, will be connected, by the phrase, “Yes, And!” It should always be a full sentence, and it should have a link to the sentence before it. Here is an example:

Player 1: “What a tiring day it has been!”
Player 2: “Yes, and the PE teacher made us run 3 rounds around the school field!” Player 3: “Yes, and I ran for so long that my stomach is in stitches!”
Player 1: “Yes, and my T-shirt was drenched in perspiration.”
Player 2: “Yes, and did you see how everyone was out of breath at the end of it?” Player 3: “Yes, and all that running is making me hungry.”

And… So on. I think you get the idea now. The winner of the game is the player that can continue without stumbling on their words!

How does this help with getting better at Stimulus-based Conversation? This is an exercise in mental agility, sentence formation and linking ideas. When you play this game, naturally your abilities in the above improve, as you need to be quick in thinking of what would happen next, form a complete sentence, and make sure that it is connected to the previous one.

The best part of it is, it is loads of fun! Try it with your friends, and let us know in the comments below, how it goes.

Do take note that the objective of the game is to help you to think about more relevant details regarding a topic. When you are answering an actual oral question, you should be careful not to link up all your ideas with “and” excessively. Instead, start new grammatically accurately sentences!

2. Read fluently with “Clap and Read”

In my previous blog entry, I wrote about how reading poetry can help you be more fluent in reading aloud. Here is a fun activity you can try using the poetry of Shel Silverstein. I picked this poet because his poetry is rhythmic.


How To Play:

You can play this alone or in pairs. There needs to be someone who claps and someone who reads. If you play it alone, you can clap and read at the same time.

Here is a sample of a poem by Shel Silverstein:

If you were only one inch tall, you’d ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you’d walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You’d swing upon a spider’s thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You’d surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn’t hug your mama, you’d just have to hug her thumb.
You’d run from people’s feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write–
‘Cause I’m just one inch tall).

First, clap your hands in an even rhythm, and read the poem along to the beat. Let me demonstrate how it’s done! (reads poem while clapping)

Depending how fluent you are, you can slow down or speed up. Now I’m going to read it slower! (reads poem while clapping at a slower pace).

As you can see, this activity really helps with fluency!

Go ahead, try it and tell us how it went!


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Ms Nuri

As a teacher, Ms Nuri believes in nurturing self-directed learners who have the drive to be the best versions of themselves, and the curiosity to always seek knowledge without being prompted to. She believes that English language education is anchored by effective communication and active listening, thus, she makes sure that her lessons are always lively with interaction!

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