Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 19. It’s a wonderful opportunity to help children to embrace their differences and celebrate their own cultures. For many students and families with English as a second language, they are in the United States following their dreams. When starting the New Year off, it is a nice time to remind all children about respecting diversity and working with each other to make the world a better place.
Getting to Know the Man with the Dream
Reading a book together to begin discussions about differences and dreams is a wonderful way to remind children about Dr. King’s message. Some books suggestions include:
- A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. – by David A. Adler
- Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. – by Jean Marzollo
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day – by Margaret McNamara
- We March – by Shane W. Evans
- My Uncle Martin’s Words for America – by Angela Farris Watkins
This group of books and others will help to familiarize children with the words and life of Dr. King. Books allow time for chatting, answering questions, and building vocabulary and word skills. Each may also be used to begin a month-long theme with crafts and items as described below.
Going Beyond the Dream of Diversity
Thinking outside of the box, there are other stories that can be used to expand talks and sessions about dreams and diversity. Each of these stories has a connection to the teachings of Dr. King and allow for wonderful speech and language extensions.
With The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss, kids learn moral lessons in a friendly way that they will understand. All of the stories have an underlying message including tolerance, acceptance, and compromise with others that are different or have views that are not the same. Seussville.com has fun teacher resources that could be used and expanded with speech and language goals in mind. Kids can also focus on something about themselves that they are proud of. Make stars and allow everyone to declare what they selected. Next, allow them to share with the group and have them say a few sentences about their choices.
When finished, they can make their own Sneetch to take home and share. Remind the kids to take time to share the lessons from The Sneetches and to share their characters and what each star means.