Students conduct a close reading of I Have a Dream, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and answer text-dependent questions to analyze how an idea is introduced, illustrated and elaborated upon in a text.
In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and African American History Month, have students investigate the text of Dr. King’s speech, I Have a Dream.
Prior to this activity, print multiple copies of I Have a Dream, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one for each student. Click here to download an excerpt from the speech. Note: Based on your students, decide if you will use the entire speech or an excerpt.
Hand out a set of text-dependent questions to small groups of students. These questions should require students to revisit the text to look for evidence of how the theme of equality is introduced, illustrated and elaborated upon in Dr. King’s speech.
What is Dr. King’s message in this speech?
Who is the intended audience?
One theme of Dr. King’s speech is equality. Find two lines that he uses to communicate this theme. Underline them in the text.
Dr. King uses repetition in his speech. Find two examples of this and star them. Explain how his use of repetition reinforces his message.
Have students work together to answer these questions, then discuss them as a class. During the discussion, call upon students to highlight evidence from the text that supports their answers and explain how they marked the text on the poster-sized copy of the text.