The students in Ms. Doescher’s Title I classes at St. Thomas Aquinas are thinking about big dreams and big words. These students include children in kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grades.

Books We Read about Big Dreams and Big Words 


Kindergarten student read I Dream by Anthony Curran.

I Dream

First through fourth graders read the following narratives about Martin Luther King, Jr; Ruby Bridges; and Maya Angelou on their guided reading level:

Martin's Big Dream

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport


Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou: Little People, Big Dreams by Lisbeth Kaiser


The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles


The pictures below show some of the lessons we worked on when reading Martin’s Big Words. We picked out the big words that meant something to us. Then we wrote in a word bubble

  • why a particular word meant something to us or
  • for what word we wanted to be remembered. 

Words Matter. You can quote us on this.

This Class Has Big Words



I Dream…






Love and Kind


Share with others





Love Pray


My Big Words…









Love Is the Key


Loving Neighbors


Standing for Rights






Courage and Friends



We started out finding the big words and using those anchors.

Big Words like war and separate



Next, they talked about what they learned on the last few pages of the book and what they were still wondering about. We stop often while reading to think about what we learned and wonder or question parts of the story. We then came up with strategies for answering these questions.

The second and third graders subsequently filled out an anchor chart on what they learned and what they wondered while reading their books. 

Second Grade Learned Wondering and Strategy


Third Graders' Questions


The students used the following strategies for answering the questions that arose:

Strategies for Answering Questions


Since it was Black History Month,  Ms. Doescher and the students discussed Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words. She used Martin’s Big Words to encourage students to expand their vocabulary and consider their choice of words. Students completed the vocabulary sheet on Wow words as they discovered Wow words while reading. 


big words: equality and segregation


movement and segregation


big words racism and movement


vocabulary: segregation and regardless