Junior Speech Tournaments

Junior Speech Tournaments

American Speech and Debate Association recognizes that there are ambitious young students counting the years until they are eligible to compete in speech and debate. For tournaments where coordinators can accommodate, students 8-11 years old will be given the opportunity to compete in a Junior Speech Tournament during tournament semifinals and/or finals. This is an excellent opportunity for younger students to get a real idea of what future competition will entail without fear of penalty. 

Student Logistics

Throughout the two-day tournament Junior speakers will have opportunities to observe speech and debate rounds, participate in Junior activities, practice their speeches, and earn small prizes from the Junior Activities Coordinator. Junior speakers are NOT required to be present throughout the two-day competition but should arrive no later than 5 pm on Saturday.

Junior speakers will check-in Saturday at 5:15 pm. The first speakers will start promptly at 5:45 pm. Junior speakers will have two rounds back-to-back. Check-in times may vary at each tournament but should be 30 minutes prior to Junior Tournament start time.

Junior speakers will receive their ballots and be recognized at the awards ceremony at 7:30 pm.

Junior Speech Events

Impromptu Speech

In Impromptu Speaking, competitors are given two possible topics to speak on. The students have two minutes to think and make notes about the topic followed by five minutes to present an informative or persuasive speech. Topics may be single words, phrases, quotes, or questions.

  1. Competitors may bring blank paper/note cards and a writing utensil into competition rooms.
  2. Competitors may use blank paper/note cards to make notes during preparation time. They may hold or view any notes during delivery of their speech.
  3. Competitors may ask a judge to read possible topics to them if they need help reading.


Original Oratory

An Original Oratory is a five-minute speech written by the competitor. The topic is entirely of the competitor’s choosing. The speech may seek to inform, to inspire, or to persuade the judges. It may be serious or humorous in tone.


Values and Faith Oratory

A Values and Faith Oratory is a five-minute speech written by the competitor. The speech should focus on a personal value or belief of the competitor. Examples of appropriate topics might include an explanation of some tenet of American values or the competitor’s religion, encouragement in upholding a value of importance to the competitor, a biography of someone who upheld American values or their own faith to the benefit of others, et cetera. The speech may seek to inform, to inspire, or to persuade the judges. It may be serious or humorous in tone.


Open Interpretation

Open Interpretation is a five-minute literary interpretation event in which the competitor chooses a published piece of literature, cuts the work into a presentation, acts out all the roles, and directs all the action. Open Interpretation provides substantial freedom of imagination to competitors. Without sets, props, or costumes available, competitors use body language, facial expressions, and voice to create rich characters and settings. Open Interpretation gives competitors the opportunity to present classic literature and works with high literary merit in a dynamic, entertaining way. Open Interpretation Speeches may be dramatic or humorous in tone.