I use this same method with my own children and thought I would share it here.
Before you begin this process, get a paper and pencil/pen handy and get ready to write as your child dictates. You may also use the worksheet printable shown at the bottom of this post.
1. Topic - Allow your child to choose the topic. Ask "what would YOU like to talk about?" If they can't think of a topic, ask "What is one of your favorite stories from the scriptures?" (If you child is assigned a topic simply skip this step).
2. Scripture Hero - No matter what, we are going to use a Scripture story to illustrate our topic. This is a sort of "chicken and the egg" scenario. If you child chooses to talk on "Courage" then ask them to identify a scripture figure who showed courage. If your child chose a Scripture story then ask what the hero of that story is an example of or what trait they posses.
3. Story Recap - Ask the child to tell you the scripture story in their own words. If they need help, fill in the story as they tell it or tell it to them simply.
4. Hero's Example - What value or characteristic does the hero of this story teach by their words and actions?
5. Supporting Scripture - find a short scripture form the scripture account to share. If you child is too
young to read, skip this step.
6. Why is it important? - Have child identify why they feel this characteristic is important. Why does Heavenly Father want us to be __________?
7. Self application - Have child share how having this characteristic can help them in their own life. Focus on literal applications, like school situations or their life at home. You may choose to start this sentence with "I can be ___value___ like ____scripture hero____ by ______________".
8. Testimony - Have your child end with a simple testimony. If this is their first time, go over the structure of a closing testimony and the use of the words, "I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Okay...here's an example. Suppose our child chose Nephi as his favorite scripture hero.
2. Nephi gets the brass plates from Laban
3. The Lord commanded Nephi and his brothers to get the brass plates from Laban. They tried twice to get them, but King Laban would not give them to Nephi or his brothers. His brothers wanted to stop trying, but Nephi was brave. He asked Heavenly Father for help and then went back and got them, even though he was afraid.
4. Nephi showed how brave he was by returning to the city even though Laban had tried to kill them. Nephi always followed the Lord's commandments.
5. In 1 Nephi 3:7, Nephi said, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded..."
6. It is important to be brave because sometimes we have to do things we are afraid to do, but if we are brave and trust in the Lord we will be blessed.
7. I can be brave like Nephi when kids at school want me to do something that isn't right. I can choose to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do.
8. End with testimony.
Using your transcribed notes, go over the talk a few times with your child. You don't have to write it out word for word, just key points. If they're old enough to read, encourage your child to just speak from their heart and not read directly from their paper. Get a supporting picture from the church library to share during his talk.
Be sure to give your child plenty of positive reinforcement. Share what you loved about their talk and how proud you are that they wrote it all by themselves.
I believe allowing children (from a very young age) to write their own talks and lessons is a way to help them feel confidence, grow their testimony and prepare for a life filled with church speaking assignments and opportunities. Their testimony Matters. Their voice is a very important voice in the Gospel.
Here's a FREE download (who loves you?) of a small worksheet to help your child plan their next talk.
CLICK HERE to download.