Martin's Big Words Activities and Comprehension Questions
Explore Martin’s Big Words activities and comprehension questions. The biography tells the life of Martin Luther King through his inspirational speeches.
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from his important speeches to tell the story of his life. The book includes a timeline and further resources to learn about this influential man. Use this biography to discuss:
- Black history
- Civil rights
- Integrity and principled
- Activism and social justice
- Determination and resilience
You can also use the book to teach:
Scroll down for Martin's Big Words activities and discussion questions.
Martin's Big Words Summary
As a young boy, Martin Luther King grew up in the segregated south of America. He sees “whites only” signs and experiences racism first-hand when the parents of his white friends said they couldn’t play with him because of the colour of his skin.
As he questions his purpose in life, his mother tells a young Martin, “You are as good as anyone.” He takes his mother’s message into adulthood when he becomes, first, a minister and then a leader for equality and civil rights.
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport illustrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The book is told using his own words. The ‘big words’ are actual quotes from Martin Luther King’s speeches, including from his impactful “I Have a Dream” speech. The quotes give a dynamic insight into his life and his belief in peaceful protests in the fight for racial equality.
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Jump at the Sun / Hyperion Paperbacks for Children
- Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
- The Story of Ruby Bridges: True Story of a Civil Rights Icon by Robert Coles
- Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
- We March by Shane W. Evans
- The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
- Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
- Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Weatherford Carole Boston
External Martin's Big Words Activities & Links
- Character Formation Project: Integrity – Martin’s Big Words
- The King Center website
- Learning to Give: Martin's Big Words Literature Guide
- Learning to Give: Big Words
- Reading is Fundamental: Martin’s Big Words Guide for Educators
- Reading is Fundamental: Martin’s Big Words Extension Activities
- Smithsonian National Museum of American History: Martin’s Big Words Reading Guide
Martin's Big Words Read-Aloud Questions
Read aloud sessions are a wonderful way for children to understand the connection between written text and spoken language. You can model reading habits and strategies, reading fluency, tone and eye contact. You can also introduce different genres, authors and illustrators.
- What do you know about Martin Luther King Jr.?
- What do you know about segregation and the Civil Rights movement?
- How could the big words tell the story of Martin Luther King’s life?
- Why do you think Doreen Rappaport used Dr. King’s words to tell his story?
- What were Martin Luther King’s dreams for the world?
- How did he use words to make a change and inspire people?
- Pick out the most important quote. Explain your choice.
- Why was it important to Dr. King that protests were peaceful? How do his words show this?
- Why do you think some people wanted to stop Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement?
- Why is Martin Luther King still inspirational today?
You can find over 90 discussion questions for Martin's Big Words on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Martin Luther King Videos
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