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.
Don’t stop there! Your MLK Day lesson plan wouldn’t be complete without these activities and teaching resources too:
Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with this ‘I Have a Dream’ craft. Encourage students to share their dreams for the future with an MLK Art activity. Observe MLK Day by encouraging students to think about their “dream” for the future by writing it as a speech.
Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with this ‘I Have a Dream’ craft.
Encourage students to share their dreams for the future with an MLK Art activity.
Observe MLK Day by encouraging students to think about their “dream” for the future by writing it as a speech.