Teaching 5-year-old children about Martin Luther King, Jr can sometimes be tricky, but is mostly rewarding. Our kids were often confused as to why black people were treated so unfairly. Because of our students’ ages, we tried to keep things simple and focus on the greatness of the man.
Reading about Martin Luther King, Jr
Using great picture books is a wonderful way to introduce young learners to Martin Luther King, Jr. We really like the book, Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Lisbeth Kaiser. We also recommend, A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David Adler. Before reading, show the cover and introduce it by saying, “This is Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a very important man in our country. He helped so many people. Let’s read the story to learn about him.” After reading the story, ask students what they learned about Dr. King. You might use the sentence starter, I learned that Martin Luther King… (Click on the book title above to purchase from Amazon).
Writing about Martin Luther King, Jr
Reread the book from reading time or read another great story to remind students about Martin Luther King, Jr. Tell students you will be writing about what a great man Dr. King was and how he helped people. Have students brainstorm what they learned, and write their sentences on the board. Then students pick 3 or 4 sentences to write on their paper. See pictures below for examples. Click here for this free Martin Luther King, Jr. writing page. *You may want to have your students write about Dr. King after you have read several books about him.
Pick another book or watch one of the videos below about Dr. King. We really like the book Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. Afterwards, lead a discussion about something new they learned or what they already knew from books you read earlier. (Click on the title above to purchase from Amazon).
Directed Drawing of Dr. King
We teach our students how to draw Dr. King through directed drawing, a step-by-step approach. Read Drawing in Kindergarten: Teaching Little Ones to Draw for a detailed explanation of directed drawing. Have students draw Dr. King step by step after you demonstrate. Then show them which colors to use when coloring their pictures. You’ll be surprised how good they turn out.
We love to display our work about Dr. King. Be sure to back both the drawing and writing your students did on black construction paper. Then hang the drawing right above the writing. We hung the projects in the hall so everyone could see and read what we learned about this incredibly important man.
Martin Luther King, Jr Kid Friendly Videos
There are some great videos that help young learners understand a little more about Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are a couple of teacher approved videos.
The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. Stories about civil rights for kids. Kids Academy
The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. / BrainPOP
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