DREAM BIG A text set: Kaegen O'Donnell

Overall Rationale: I chose to do my text set over the concept of "Dreaming Big" which is an idea that third graders do need to hear in their classroom experience. Students need to be motivated to learn, motivated to succeed, and motivated to be the best person that they can be! A growth mindset is important for kids, and for adults, alike! Kids need someone to believe in their abilities, and as a teacher, I have the opportunity to be that person. Every child needs someone to believe in their dreams. By believing in their dreams, we are believing in our students and who they are. Let us all DREAM BIG, for Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Fiction Texts:

Grace for President

DiPucchio, K., & Pham, L. (2012). Grace for president. New York: Disney/Hyperion Books.

  • Author: Kelly DiPucchio.
  • Illustrator: Leuyen Pham
  • Publisher: Disney Book Group
  • ISBN-10: 14239992
  • Number of Pages: 40
  • Genre: Children's Literature, Self-Esteem/Social Topics, Fiction


While reviewing the different presidents' of our past in the United States during school, Grace begins to notice a trend. She realizes that there are no female presidents! Grace's school, Woodrow Wilson, decides to hold it's own presidential election, and Grace is up for the challenge! Grace begins to find that the election is going smoothly, that is until Thomas Cobb announces that he will be in the running too. The two students go head to head; by the end, Grace wins the class election by having the most electoral votes and learns that she must persevere through difficulties in order to achieve her goals.

Five Reading Components: Vocab

Six Areas of Language Arts: Reading

Standard: RI.3.10-By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Teaching Point: Teachers can use this book to teach students about how the government system works in the United States, including the process of the electoral college. The book includes many vocabulary words connecting to election process, which students can focus on while reading. Students also may be inspired to become government officials, even the President of the United States!

Oh, the Places You'll Go

S. (2008). Oh, the places you'll go. HarperCollins Children's Books.

  • Author: Dr. Seuss
  • Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • ISBN-10: 0679805273
  • Number of Pages: 56
  • Genre: Juvenile Fiction


This beautifully written story follows a young boy through the magic of life, whether it be positive, or negative situations. The boy leaves to see the world for the first time. He is starting a new adventure, awakening to the world. He encounters life head on, is faced with many challenges, and begins to walk the path of uncertainty. The path of life has many bright moments, low moments, and many unknown places to encounter! Along this path, a blazing trail is made behind the young boy, and the trail continues to various places that life leads us all to.

Five Reading Components: Fluency

Six Areas of Language Arts: Writing/Speaking

Standard: W.3.3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Teaching Points: Teachers can use this book to inspire students to take the next step in life, no matter what that step may be. It allows the reader to take away the "scary" feeling of the unknown. The poetry involved by the wonderful Dr. Seuss can be used to model to students fluency, and have students model to each other. The students can use speaking along with fluency, and the teacher can involve a writing activity with the places the students want to go, or have been!

The Dreamer

Ryan, P. M., & Sís, P. (2012). The dreamer. New York: Scholastic Press.

  • Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Illustrator: Peter Sis
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning Corporation
  • ISBN: 9781613833759
  • Number of Pages: 373
  • Genre: Fictional Biography


This story is the fictional biography of the world poet, Pablo Neruda. While growing up in Chile, a young Neftali Reyes has the mind of a writer. While his ideas flow fast and naturally, his father does not support his creativity, for he wants him, alongside his brother, to pursue and excel in business relations. As Neftali grows older, he realizes that he must pursue his passion, no matter what expectations had been placed upon him for the future. He breaks free, and lives out this freedom in his own identity as a writer, and as a poet. Neftali eventually finds strength in his dreams, strength in his words, and strength in himself!

Five Reading Components: Comprehension

Six Areas of Language Arts: Critical Thinking/Writing

Standard: RL.3.3 – Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Teaching Points: This book is wonderful for students to make comparisons between the actual events of Pablo Neruda and between the character of Neftali, meaning they would actually have to comprehend the feelings and emotions that the character went through during the story. Students can use critical thinking skills to determine how they would react to outside factors negatively pushing out their dreams. The teacher can also have a writing workshop that would involve the whole class. Students could write their own stories of how their dreams came to be, and then make a class book!

Non-Fiction Texts

Dream Something Big

Aston, D. H., & Roth, S. L. (2011). Dream something big: the story of the Watts Towers. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

  • Author: Dianna Aston
  • Illustrator: Susan Roth
  • Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-0803732457
  • Number of Pages: 40 pages
  • Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction


Simon Rodia is not your normal architect. Set in the early 1900's, leading into the 1920's, a young girl grows up alongside a neighbor, a neighbor that her city deems as crazy. This girl watches as Rodia never gives up on his work of building a piece of art, made of a variety of materials that nobody would see as special alone, but put together turn into something beautiful. This piece of art becomes the Watt's Tower in California, and soon becomes a U.S. National Landmark. Rodia's dream became a reality!

Five Reading Components: Phonics

Six Areas of Language Arts: Viewing/Visually Representing

Standard: RI.3.7 – Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text. (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

Teaching Points: The teacher can have this book be a great example of determination. The illustrator did a fantastic job, one which lets the students view the story of the Watt's Tower in a different light. Phonics may be highlighted in this book! Making the students find the connection from phonics to the illustrations may inspire a hidden talent, or one that is not so hidden. A teacher can also take this as a opportunity to build their own Watt's Tower out of different material!

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Thompson, L. (2015). Emmanuel's dream: The true story of emmanuel ofosu yeboah. Random House.

  • Author: Laurie Ann Thompson
  • Illustrator: Sean Qualls
  • Publisher: Schwartz and Wade/Random House
  • ISBN: 9780449817445
  • Number of Pages: 40
  • Genre: Non-fiction


The true story of this young boy, Emmanuel, is one for the ages (I may have cried a couple of tears). As a young boy, Emmanuel knew that he could not let his disability from stopping him from education, sports, or supporting his family. He goes off, by himself, to find a place to work and earn money for his mother and his siblings. In the big city, Emmanuel finds himself ridiculed for only having one leg, and people tell him to go beg on the streets, but he refuses. His mother becomes sick, and eventually passes away, sparking a inspirational idea. Emmanuel wants to bike across Ghana...and so he does, going 400 miles in ten days! Emmanuel proves that a disability cannot stop a single individual from reaching for what they want in life.

Five Reading Components: Phonemic Awareness/Fluency

Six Areas of Language Arts: Writing/Listening/Visual

Standard: W.3.3b – Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

RL.3.6 – Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters

Teaching Points: This book can be used for a multitude of reasons. It shows that a disability is not what fully makes a person and the fact that a person is so much more than their disability! The text in this book can focus in on fluency, if you wanted students to read it out loud. You can also easily incorporate a writing component with this text! Oprah also made a movie about this story, so students can definitely watch it as well. The trailer is below!

You're on Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt

George, J. (2004). You're on your way, teddy roosevelt. Penguin Young Readers.

  • Author: Judith St. George
  • Illustrator: Matt Faulkner
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
  • ISBN-13: 9780147512857
  • Number of Pages: 48
  • Genre: Non-fiction/Children's Literature


We always seem to think of Teddy Roosevelt as just one of our presidents, but he was a young child once too! Roosevelt went through his childhood dealing with the effects of asthma, becoming ill, and even encountering some bullies. Roosevelt perseveres through these challenges, takes up boxing, and pushes himself to be the healthiest he can be. Roosevelt had some great qualities as a president, but these qualities had always been a part of him, long before the fame. His willingness to adventure, to explore, to change, and to grow in who he was left his print in the sands of time. The echoes of Roosevelt as a child allowed him to push forward in his successes in life, while touching the lives of those around him with his determination, fight, and strength to go on.

Five Reading Components: Comprehension

Six Areas of Language Arts: Visually Representing/Listening

Standard: SL.3.2 – Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

RL. 3.5-Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.

Teaching Points: Personally, I love history. This story can be put into use by using the example of Theodore Roosevelt, someone of influence, who struggled in his childhood with illness and asthma. This just goes to show that even the most famous, and influential of people, have pursued their dreams even if they had some snags along the way. A teacher can take scenes from the story and have the students put them into order. The students must back up their reasoning of the scenes. The teacher could also have students verbally put into words the story of Theodore Roosevelt, and can even listen to podcasts or speeches from the man himself.


Best Day of My Life-American Authors


This song focuses in on having a dream and having the guts to chase them! It can be used as an inspiration to live every day to the fullest and never give up on the dreams that you create for yourself.

Five Reading Components: Fluency

Six Areas of Language Arts: Listening/Viewing

Standard: SL.3.1a – Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

Teaching Points: Teachers can use this song and the lyrics as a means of discussion. The students can have a hand out the day before that has the lyrics on them. They must go home and read the material, come back with questions, and then there could be a whole group class discussion over how the lyrics relate to dreams! Students would be using their listening and speaking skills. Focusing in on the fluency of how kids read the song, then sing the song can allow the teacher to see struggles within the classroom.



This picture illustrates the plans and ideas of a young child. This child is exploring through his environment and obviously has a passion for what he is exploring with! The dreams of this young child are explicit and should be celebrated within a classroom.

Five Reading Components: Vocab

Six Areas of Language Arts: Viewing/Critical Thinking

Standard: SL.3.5 – Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.

Teaching Points: Students could definitely use this as a guiding picture throughout the unit. The teacher could start a discussion about the picture, then use that discussion to lead students to come up with a way to visually represent their own ideas, thoughts, and dreams. The students would then have to present their dreams to the class, by a variety of means, and can incorporate some vocabulary in there as well.

Dream Map


Mind Maps can be used in the classroom for students to organize their thoughts! This one is no exception. This is a great example of a Dreaming Mind Map that takes us through the thoughts, successes, failures, and dreams of a person!

Five Reading Components: Vocab/Comprehension

Six Areas of Language Arts: Writing/Visually Representing

Standard: W.3.6 – With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Teaching Points: A cool activity that a teacher could use in the classroom is the idea of a mind map. They can instead to a "Dream Map" where students map out their dreams, interrelate ideas/thoughts, and the students can even set goals. This gives students a way to be original, organize their thoughts into writing, and to have a visual of their end dream. The teacher could also incorporate different apps that can create a mind map.



Kid President is back and with a bang! This video explains that dreams are worth going for! There are some key comparisons between Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and making sure that our dreams are heard too. Kid President's peppy personality puts the inspirations of our young generation into perspective.

Five Reading Components: Comprehension

6 Areas of Language Arts: Speaking/Writing

Standard: W.3.2a – Introduce a topic and group related information together.

Teaching Points: Empowering as ever, this Kid President video can be used to start of the entirety of the theme of dreaming big. The students first have to focus on comprehending the video fully-that, with just dreams, people can change the world. Then, the students can interact with a writing activity that can include inventions/social changes that happened because of dreams. Students would then present, verbally, why their dreams are important.

Works Cited

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  • http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html
  • http://www.mindmapart.com/wp-content/gallery/thum-cheng-cheong/dreams.gif
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVY7hhI3pKA


Created with images by Unsplash - "usa flags stars and stripes" • Gabriel F, SE - "Blue" • Hans - "bicycle tires mature tunnel" • dbking - "Roosevelt's Rough RIders"

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