Speech Competition


Event Details

  • 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Virtual
  • The three categories of speech: interpretative reading, persuasive speaking, and impromptu speaking.
  • The three divisions: Beginner (grades 5 & 6), Intermediate (grades 7 & 8), High School (grades 9 to 12). There will be a cap of 30 competitors for this event, with preference for 10 competitors in each division.
  • All students will compete in the interpretative reading and persuasive speaking categories. The top 3 students in each division will move on to compete in the finals, which will be an impromptu speech.
  • The order of speaking will be assigned randomly, and competitors will watch the speeches given in their division,
  • The top three high school competitors will be invited to attend the National Speech Championships February 10th to 13th in Winnipeg, Manitoba.



  • All competitors must provide one judge. Judges will be provided with a scoring rubric and do not need any previous experience judging speeches. Competitors that do not provide a judge may be unable to compete.
  • Judges register HERE.



  • A registration form must be filled out for each student by November 18 . Deadline extended to November 21. The parent/student may fill in the registration form OR the coach.  
    • Student registration is closed. 
  • Registration fee will be set once location is determined. 
    • E-transfer to director@saskdebate.com by November 18. Deadline extended to November 21. Put the students name followed by SPE in the memo line.
    • Teams that cancel less than 24 hours before the tournament will still owe tournament fees.

Category Definitions

Interpretive reading

Each participant should read a passage of prose or poetry (or a collection of poems), serious or humorous, with an appropriate brief introduction that states the author, title, and theme of the work. The piece(s) must have been published and may not have been written by the reader.  Students may read from the published text or from word processed pages in a folder. Choices of text may include anything from Dr. Seuss to George Orwell. Judges will be assessing how much the reader’s voice and presentation add to the material rather than with the talent of the author. Please note that this is a reading, not a dramatic presentation. Competitors may stand or sit but should not move around excessively. The time limits are from five to eight minutes, which includes the brief introduction. Judges will be considering the quality and helpfulness of the competitor’s introduction, understanding of the selection, voice (pace, timing, enunciation) and its overall appeal.

Persuasive Speaking

This speech is designed to persuade and must be on a serious topic, although this does not mean that humour might not be useful at points in the speech. A problem/solution approach must be taken, i.e. speakers must identify a problem (it need not be an earth-shattering one) and propose, or at least examine, one or more solutions to it. Speeches should be from five to eight minutes in length. Speakers may use note cards, although judges are often more impressed by speakers who do not use any notes. Participants’ speeches are scored on the analysis of the problem, on the persuasiveness of the discussion (logic, appeal), on interest and on delivery.  

Impromptu Speaking

Tournament staff will draw three topics, which may be a word, a quotation, a phrase. The speaker must choose one of the three, and then prepare for 10 minutes. They may take notes but may not bring them up when they speak. The speech must last from three to five minutes. Speakers may speak in favour of, against, in favour of and against, or about the topic. It should be the sort of speech that would be delivered if the speaker were asked to speak on short notice to a general audience on the topic given. They may interpret it within reason, including treating it as a metaphor but must speak about the topic that they have been given. It is strictly understood that competitors will not use prepared material for this event. Wit, humour, logic, philosophy, and sentiment are all equally welcome. Judges will be looking for agility of thought, substance, organizational ability and, above all, the ability of each speaker to communicate with style and originality. Points will be scored for adherence to statement of topic, organization, interest, and delivery.        

Specific guidelines:

  • Speeches should be structured and logical.
  • The interpretation of the topic and the speech should correlate in a meaningful way.
  • Canned/rehearsed/reworked impromptus will be penalized.
  • Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable.
  • No props of any kind are permitted.
  • The speaker must state the topic at the end of their speech.
  • No notes of any kind, other than the topic paper are permitted during the speech.
  • Although a speaker may refer to the words or beliefs of others, whether fictional or real characters, he or she must speak in his or her own person for most of the speech.  Adoption of a persona is not allowed for Impromptu speaking.

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