Curriculum & Textbooks

Preparing your team for its first tournament

A week-by-week guide for preparing a new team for its first tournament in one month. Thanks are due to the Chicago Debate League, who produced the original guide that this was adapted from.

Debate Textbooks & Activities

*PLEASE NOTE: these resources are written to teach debate in an environment where there are no argument restrictions. You may see references to arguments that are not included in the Core Files your students receive. You should ALWAYS defer to the Core Files as a measure of what you should teach your students.

Debate 101 is a reference book produced by two former debaters (Bill & Will Smelko) that is frequently updated & covers every element of debate - from arguments types, speaking styles, and how to prepare for your first tournament. It is best used like an encylopedia or reference guide if you stumble upon concepts you aren't quite familiar with - or you can direct your advanced debaters to it if they want to broaden their knowledge base.

The Emory Policy Debate Manual is a great resource that explains just about every component of debate and how to do it. It is best used as a reference guide or encyclopedia when you are approaching new concepts (like the kritik, topicality, answering theory arguments, etc.).

The NAUDL Activities Manual is a great collection of classroom activities compiled by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues. They are organized with the intent to introduce students to debate - so you can find activities that cater to every level of student comprehension in here.


Chicago's Urban Debate League has made an excellent demo debate video available - it was produced this summer by four CDL alumni using Chicago's core files. This can help your students get an idea of what a debate round looks like - the order of speeches, how they should carry themselves in round, and it also introduces how to flow (take notes) properly.

You can also request a digital copy of the video (or download it from the link above) if you want to distribute it to your students.

Recruiting Tools