Martin Luther King was a master author. Have students discover this by having them identify all the various literary devices packed into this one, famous speech. Send them on a “treasure hunt” for the following literary devices: Metaphor, Simile, Symbolism, Assonance, Consonance, Alliteration, and Anaphora. Definitions of these devices and examples for each are in the student instructions.
The full text of the speech is included as well as links to the audio of the speech and an excellent animation from Stanford.
When finished, lead the students in a sharing session, either in small groups or as a whole class. I've included discussion questions for students to answer after the treasure hunt. Why did King choose to deliver his idea through that particular literary device? What effect does it have on the listener? What effect does it have on the idea he wants to communicate?
Aligned to the following Common Core Standards for ELA:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
I've also included in the student instructions a student-friendly learning target for these standards.