Write an "I Have a Dream" Speech!

What You Need:

  • The text of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (found online through a search engine like Google)
  • Several sheets of binder and/or drawing paper
  • A pencil and markers

What You Do:

  1. First, picture King's dream. Urge your child to close her eyes, and then read the speech aloud. The entire speech is preferred, but this may not be possible for a young or squirmy child. If not, begin at “I say to you today, my friends…”
  2. Keeping her eyes shut, encourage her to create any pictures in her mind as you read.
  3. When finished, divide a sheet of paper into categories: “sights,” “smells,” “sounds,” “tastes,” “textures,” and “feelings.” Leave spaces for notes in each section. Have her jot down words or phrases that came to mind, even doodles, from King’s words. There are no right or wrong answers; the key is to ignite her imagination to freely associate the speech with her own sensory imagery.
  4. Recite the speech again, or parts of it, if necessary. And don’t forget to ask: “How did the speech make you feel?”
  5. Next, she can write a speech. From the warm-up above, your child is processing what you’ve read with each of her senses. Instruct her to divide another sheet of paper into the same categories.
  6. Ask new questions to unlock more abstract ideas: Do you have a dream? What do you wish or hope for? What makes you happy in this world? What upsets or makes you scared? How can your school, neighborhood, or world be better?
  7. Have her record words, phrases, or pictures in the appropriate categories: “ice cream” under “tastes,” “my little brother’s laugh” under “sounds,” or a doodle of the family dog under “sights,” for instance. Encourage her to fill each blank space with as many words and scribbles as possible.
  8. While she creates her collection of imagery, prepare a speech template on a piece of paper. Each line of her speech will begin with “I have a dream…” Repeat this phrase eight to 10 times – more if she likes to write – skipping two or three lines between each.
  9. Using the sights, sounds, smells, and other senses in her notes, have her finish each sentence on the template: “I have a dream…where the world is always full of flowers,” or “I have a dream…that the future is full of plentiful food and clothing for all,” for example.
  10. Read the speech aloud when completed!

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