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Martin Luther King Poems for Kids
Teach kindness and friendship to your little children with Martin Luther King poems for kids.
Teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King to younger grades, such as Prek, kindergarten, and first grade, can be difficult. The civil rights movement, and MLK’s violent death, are ok for a high school student to process, but not the little ones.
Instead, we want kids to know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders, for the content of their character. MLK was a man of peace, a leader of change, a problem-solver, and that he wanted everyone to get along regardless the color of their skin.
To keep the lesson developmentally appropriate, you can use Martin Luther King Poems and songs to celebrate Martin Luther King day, and Black History Month.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
To honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, there is a United States federal holiday on the third Monday in January. Since MLK Jr.’s birthday was on January 15th, our great nation has chosen to honor him in a special way – year after year.
Today, my kindergarten and first grade reading intervention groups, added the Martin Luther King poem for kids to their poetry notebook, then completed the interactive pocket chart poem activity with their peers.
Martin Luther King Poem
I have been using this Martin Luther King poem to honor MLK day since I started my teaching career. Since MLK day is in January, it’s a great way to kick off the new year with a reminder of the important things in life. Treating others with kindness helps wash out the difficulties of today.
Had a Dream
That we would work as a team.
We shouldn’t care about
the color of our skin.
Let’s get along and be good friends.
The kids would go home singing this MLK song to their families, and, without, fail, there would always be a parent who reached out to me. They truly appreciated that I taught the message without bringing up gun violence.
After your kids learn about MLK with this simple bio poem, let them add simple drawings to their poem. You can then hang them on a bulletin board to create an oasis of freedom and kindness.
When introducing the poem, I used the printable Martin Luther King poem for kids.
First, the kindergarten and first grade reading groups started with a sight word hunt and/or letter search- finding words and letters they already knew. After giving them a few minutes to locate words or letters they knew, I allowed them to do a turn and share. A turn and share allows them time to share their finding with a peer.
To extend our learning about MLK Jr., we revisited the poem several times throughout the week. In kindergarten reading groups, we did an echo reading, followed by a shared reading. In first grade groups, we located rhyming words, did a shared reading, independent read aloud, and paired reading.
When done, we added the Martin Luther King poem for kids to our poetry notebooks.
To finish off our lesson, I created a Build a Poem poetry center to go along with the Dr. King poem. I will show you, below, how to set this poetry center up in no time!
Martin Luther King Build a Poem
To create a pocket chart poetry center, grab the Martin Luther King Build a Poem. Then, simply hang the poem as a reference, place the word cards in a container, or place them in mixed up order on the bottom of the pocket chart. Every word is printed in large text on it’s own card. You no longer need to write the poem on sentence strips and cut apart each word. The work is done for you!
The students will use the word cards to build the Martin Luther King poem, and read aloud with their peers when finished.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Books
A great way to extend MLK’s American dream is with a collection of MLK books.
Some of the Martin Luther King books for kids were simple enough to get his message across during a shared reading activity, while others were much too difficult for kids to comprehend.
- The Story of Martin Luther King Jr., by Christine Platt
- I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer
- Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
- I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s an excellent way to integrate lessons on Dr. King, concepts of print, sentence structure, sight words, fluency, and retelling. If you’re interested in more poetry, be sure to grab your FREE Poetry Guide.
Teaching your kiddos about MLK, Jr. doesn’t have to be difficult. Spread the message of kindness and friendship with these Martin Luther King poems for kids. Little black boys and black girls, little white boys, little white girls, and children of all races will learn a lot from your social studies lessons on MLK.
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