Diction and Projection

Lesson 1—Diction and Projection



Students will demonstrate their understanding of diction and projection by creating tongue twisters and performing them for the class.



As the bell rings, have students write in their notebooks a response to the following Bell ringer question: How do you communicate clearly in your daily lives?

Have students write down today’s Vocabulary: Diction and Projection (don’t have them fill out the definitions yet)


  • Breathing exercises

Breathing using the diaphragm: Have the students lie on floor, on their back, legs flat against the floor, hand resting on their stomach. Have them Breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 8. Repeat several times. Breathe down deep; feel the breath in your toes. Have them focus on not moving their shoulders while they breathe, but feeling their stomach rise and fall with every breath.


  • Vocalization exercises

Have the students Breathe in and then breathe out while making an Sssss sound. Support the Sssss sound all the way through until you run out of breathe. Have them really push the Sssss and try to make it as loud as they can. Repeat several times.


  • Projection exercises

Have the students’ breath in and then say HA using their diaphragm and projecting their voice to the celling. Repeat several times. Repeat again, but this time have them say, “Hello my name is__________” Still projecting to the celling. Introduce the diaphragm. Say “there’s a muscle that runs horizontally across our stomach, just below our ribs, that helps us to breath. Does anyone know what this muscle is called?” Talk about how the diaphragm expands as we breathe in and contracts as we breathe out, and it’s both a voluntary and involuntary muscle. This muscle helps us to project.

  • Why do we project using our diaphragm? (so you don’t hurt your voice)
  • Why might projecting be important as an actor?
  • Why might projecting be important in life?


  • Diction exercises

Tell the students to repeat after you saying, “The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue. The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.” Articulation is one of the most important aspects of vocal production. Articulators are the parts of our mouth that help us to pronounce words. What are the three articulators? (Lips, teeth, tongue). Not only does this exercise warm up our voice, but it helps to remind us what the articulators are.

  • Ask the students for an example of a letter that uses the teeth as an articulator.
  • What letters use the tongue as an articulator?
  • What letters use the lips as an articulator?

Articulators help us with diction, which is speaking clearly and crisply, so that each consonant and vowel is articulated.

  • Why would having clear diction be important when you are speaking on stage?
  • What about in life?


  • Tongue twisters together

Have the students practice their diction with the following tongue twisters. Say each tongue twister once for them, and then go stand on the opposite end of the room from them and have them project each tongue twister to you. Point out students who you notice have clear diction and projection.

  1. Red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather.
  2. I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch
  3. Betty Botter bought some butter
    But she said the butter’s bitter
    If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter
    But a bit of better butter will make my batter better
    So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter


Have the students come back to bell ringer and fill out the definitions of diction and projection. Have them as a class come up with the definitions that they will write down in their notebook.


  • Modeling

Tell the class that now they will come up with their own tongue twisters. They will then perform these in front of the class. There are two good way to create a tongue twister. They are by using alliteration and assonance. Remind me, from English class, what is alliteration and what is assonance?

 Alliteration— Same sound at the beginning of words

Assonance— Same sound in the middle of words

As a class, come up with a tongue twister that uses alliteration and a tongue twister that uses assonance.


  • Make their own tongue twister

Set the class to work in partnerships to create their tongue twister. Once they have created their tongue twister, have them perform it for the class using good diction and projection. Have the class practice each tongue twister as well.



Students can be assessed on their performance of their tongue twister. Students are expected to use strong projection and clear diction in their performance.