teaching resource

I Have a Dream - Speech Analysis Activity

Teach Starter Publishing
PDF | 1 page | Grades: 4 - 6

Review MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech text and explore the metaphors he used to convey his message through the accompanying questions.

Analyze MLK’s “I Have A Dream” Speech In Text

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech showcases one of history’s timeless examples of how orators use figurative language to persuade their audience to feel compassion and empathy. 

Through this independent practice worksheet, students will examine the text version of King’s speech, looking for the specific metaphors and emotive language used to inspire and influence his audience. Then they’ll complete the accompanying questions by considering specific excerpts in the speech, decoding MLK’s language and putting the meaning of his imagery in their own words

TIP:  If possible, we suggest students also watch a video of MLK’s speech and use the printout as a reference tool for answering the reflection questions. 

Finally, students will refine their vocabulary skills by identifying a set of 10 words found in MLK’s speech, writing a definition for each, along with a synonym and antonym.

Scaffolding + Extension Tips 

In addition to individual student work time, use this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day worksheet as a:

Students who need more of a challenge can write a speech about a topic that they feel is unjust, being sure to use figurative language to convey their feelings and persuade the audience. 

Support students who struggle with language by assigning this worksheet in a small group setting. Print out the MLK speech and highlight phrases to discuss. Allow students to express their feelings with pictures and color, or use strong words to relate to the text. 

How To Prepare This Resource

Print this worksheet double-sided to save paper. 

You can also turn this teaching resource into a sustainable activity! Print a few copies on cardstock and slip them into dry-erase sleeves. Students can record their answers with a dry-erase marker, then erase and reuse. 

Additionally, project the worksheet onto a screen and work through it as a class by having students record their answers in their notebooks.

Before You Download

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 

Get More Martin Luther King, Jr. Day teaching resources »

Don’t stop there! Your MLK Day lesson plan wouldn’t be complete without these activities and teaching resources too: 

Image of 'I Have a Dream' Mobile

teaching resource

'I Have a Dream' Mobile

Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with this ‘I Have a Dream’ craft. 

Teach Starter Publishing3 pagesGrades: K - 5
Image of I See My Dream - MLK Art Activity

teaching resource

I See My Dream - MLK Art Activity

Encourage students to share their dreams for the future with an MLK Art activity. 

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageGrades: 1 - 6
Image of

teaching resource

"I Have a Dream" Writing Prompt Page

Observe MLK Day by encouraging students to think about their “dream” for the future by writing it as a speech.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageGrades: 2 - 6


Write a review to help other teachers and parents like yourself. If you'd like to request a change to this resource, or report an error, select the corresponding tab above.

Log in to comment