Analyzing an Audience
When you talk to a colleague, do you speak the same as if you were conversing with, for example, the parent of a student? How about if you were speaking to your boss? Would the the tone you use and the words you pick change? Of course they would, and that’s because audience matters. And in this free lesson plan, we’ll be teaching students to pick up on the strategies speakers use to connect with their audience by having them analyze a historical speech. Check out our audience analysis lesson plan for 9th and 10th graders here.
About the Lesson Plan
The objective of this lesson plan is to have students identify the intended audience of a historical speech. They will also look at the strategies the speaker uses to connect with the audience. You can use any speech, but the one we’re providing is JFK’s 1962 “Race to Space” speech as the model. The intended audience here includes those who are present (notable academics and politicians in Texas), physically distant (for example, radio and television audiences), and future (as an archive of 1962 and JFK’s priorities).
Before discussing JFK’s “Race to Space” speech, spend some time contextualizing the political and cultural environment of 1962. What do the students know about JFK, the time period, and the inventions that came about from this time (like LASIK, or the computer mouse)? Then, move into a discussion of audience. Start big picture and work down to a more specific level. We’ve provided some questions you can ask your class to help achieve this. After posing the questions, discuss who JFK’s various audiences would be (for example, the primary audience, secondary audience, and future audience). Lead a discussion on pronoun choice by posing the question: “How does JFK use pronouns to connect with the various audiences?” Read the first few paragraphs of the speech to illustrate JFK’s awareness of and attempts to connect with his multiple audiences
Next, display the Read Ahead AI presentation in the Create Presentation tool to Select Words in order to mark pronouns in these paragraphs. As part of a discussion, find samples of textual evidence, such as the audience’s values, and connect the evidence to the audiences most sensitive to these pieces of evidence. Finally, Release students to work independently or in small groups to finish reading the speech. Have them participate in a student-collaborated discussion that extends the discussion of audience awareness and pronoun usage to the rest of the speech. After discussing the speech, students will focus on the author’s use of pronouns to define and connect with the various audiences. We’ve provided two different options for how students can do this within the lesson plan.
Why Use Read Ahead AI?
All of our free lesson plans leverage the power of Read Ahead AI to help students become better readers. By showing readers key words and phrases before asking them to read, we can boost their overall comprehension. Furthermore, Read Ahead AI lets students choose which words they think are important. In this way, student voices quite literally become part of the curriculum. Time spent reading in Read Ahead is automatically logged as well.
If you haven’t already, you can sign up for a Read Ahead AI account here. You’ll need one to access the presentations we’ve made in this lesson plan. If you’re brand new to Read Ahead and would like a demo, we’d be happy to meet with you! You can sign up for one here.