It’s important for children to follow their dreams. Many students may not be aware that this can require a lot of hard work and perseverance. Using a role model like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is perfect any day, but especially during the month of January. On January 16, people around the United States will celebrate this man and his dream of obtaining rights for all citizens of this country.
When working with children who may not originally be from the United States, it is important to give them some background on Martin Luther King, Jr. They may not know the history of the Civil Right Movement, no less about Dr. King’s famous speech in Washington DC. All of this is perfect to remind students about respecting diversity and coming together to work toward making the world a better place. Begin with a book to help everyone to understand the background about Dr. King. Remember that different books will focus on various parts of his life. Some may be more about his life, while others are about his message for humanity. Some book examples include:
- A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr – by David A. Adler
- The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. – by Johnny Ray Moore
- My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – by Martin Luther King III
- What is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? – by Margot Parker
- March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World – by Christine King Farris
- Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – by Doreen Rappaport
- Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. – by Jean Marzollo
Reading allows kids to have time to chat, answer questions, and build their vocabulary. To build on this, take time to allow each child to express what their own dreams are. Create a paper for them to work on that has several sections. First, draw what their dream would look like. Then, break it down a bit further. Write what their dream is in one section, the dream for their family, and their dream for the world. These three will spark more conversations. Allow them to explain why they selected each and encourage them to elaborate.
If this goes well, expand on it and think outside of the box. The key is to encourage kids in speech and language sessions to be proud of their multicultural backgrounds and diversity. Encourage parents and families to participate by sending home letters to them ahead of time to share with the kids.
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