Becoming a Writer: Speeches 1 of 4

Becoming a Writer: Speeches 1 of 4

Different forms of writing

In this series of blogs we will be looking at different forms of writing. They are designed to help you develop confidence with writing in a variety of different forms, particularly speeches, letters and articles. Firstly we will look at speeches.

The important thing about speeches is that they are designed for a listening audience. This is why the content (what is in it) and how it is delivered (the presentation) are both important.

You will need

  • A pen
  • Some paper or English book to respond to some of the questions that you are encouraged to think about

Think about…you may wish to make some notes

You Do

  • When was the last time you can remember listening to a speech?
  • What was the purpose of the speech? Who was speaking? What can you remember about it? Was it successful?
  • Possible suggestions: events where you may have heard someone talking at school, political speeches on television or on line, a character you may have heard talking in a film or a event you may have attended

Speeches with a purpose

You may have seen the Prime Minister’s briefing which happens each day or you may have seen other political speeches.


Watch this famous speech by American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King which happened in 1963.


This speech was made at a time when slavery in America had been illegal for 100 years but Martin Luther King has a particular view about how Black Americans were treated in society at this time.

A note about language

The word negro is used by Martin Luther King in this speech. At the time, the word was used to describe someone of Black African descent and was commonly used. For further information look up a full definition:


  1. What do you think is the main purpose of the speech? What is the event?
  2. What is Martin Luther King ” dreaming about”? Think about his overall argument.
  3. What is his view about the way black people were treated in his society?
  4. Look and listen to the audiencewhat do you notice about them? How are they reacting and responding to his words?
  5. Which phrases or words does he repeat? What is the effect of this?
  6. Do you find the speech inspirational? Why/Why/wnynot?

Share your answers with your teacher in the way you usually do

Taking it further…

If this has interested you then you may wish to look at Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in 2008 where he deals with similar issues to those which Martin Luther King mentioned many years before. Do you think Martin Luther King’s dream has come true?