by Sara Matson
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
I PracticedJonArno Lawson
In JonArno Lawson's poem "I Practiced," a speaker describes their experiences practicing to get better at a skill.Pair “I Practiced” with “Dancing Toward Dreams” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the importance of practice. Do students think that Misty Copeland would have achieved her dreams without practice? Why or why not?
Fastest Woman in the WorldPat Parker
In the informational text "Fastest Woman in the World," Pat Parker discusses Wilma's Rudolph's journey to becoming a gold medalist in the 1960 Olympics.Pair “Dancing Toward Dreams” with “Fastest Woman in the World” and ask students to discuss how both women excelled as athletes. What obstacles did Misty Copeland and Wilma Rudolph encounter because of their race? How did they overcome these obstacles? What qualities do the women have in common? What sets them apart? How did both women create positive changes in sports?
ThumbelinaHans Christian Andersen
Born in the center of a tulip and stuck forever at a small size, Thumbelina faces many challenges because she is so different from others around her.Pair “Thumbelina” with “Dancing Toward Dreams” and ask students to discuss how each text explores the theme of beauty. How do Misty and Tiny overcome the obstacles they face in their worlds? Does either character change themselves? Why or why not? Is either character able to change the people around them? How?
In the poem "Dreams," Langston Hughes uses metaphors to describe what life would be like without dreams.Pair “Dancing Towards Dreams” with “Dreams” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the importance of dreams. Ask students to discuss Misty Copeland’s journey toward fulfilling her dreams. Do students think that Copeland “held fast” to her dreams? If so, in what ways?
The Osage FirebirdSudipta Bardhan
In "The Osage Firebird," Sudipta Bardhan describes the life of Maria Tallchief, America's first major prima ballerina who drew on her Native American heritage in her performances.Pair “Dancing Towards Dreams” with “The Osage Firebird” and have students compare the careers of the two famous ballerinas. According to “Dancing Towards Dreams,” how did Misty Copeland discover ballet and what are some challenges she has faced on her way to becoming a principal dancer? How are these challenges similar and different to those that Betty Marie Tallchief faced in “The Osage Firebird”? How are both dancers “women of two worlds” and how do they use their heritage as an advantage?
Ribburta and the Rootintootin' Highfalutin' Ballet ExtravaganzaJoan Lennon
In "Ribburta and the Rootintootin' Highfalutin' Ballet Extravaganza," a frog uses her cleverness to help save her family from an evil fox.Pair “Dancing Toward Dreams” with “Ribburta and the Rootintootin’ Highfalutin’ Ballet Extravaganza” and ask students to talk about how the characters in the stories have to overcome similar challenges. Both characters face difficulty when people tell them that they cannot become dancers because they do not have the right bodies for dancing. In “Dancing Toward Dreams,” the author explains how Misty Copeland had to overcome challenges to become a professional dancer. Misty was told that she weighed too much and did not have a dancer’s body. In “Ribburta and the Rootintootin’ Highfalutin’ Ballet Extravaganza,” Ribburta is told that she cannot become a dancer because her legs are too short. How are Ribburta and Misty’s challenges alike? What do their responses to challenges tell you about Misty and Ribburta? How would you feel if someone told you that you could not do something because of something you could not control? What would you do?
Malia's Chance to DanceBeth Greenway
In "Malia's Chance to Dance," a young girl tries out to hula in the local luau.Pair “Dancing Toward Dreams” with “Malia’s Chance to Dance” and ask students to discuss what both girls wanted to accomplish. Misty from “Dancing Towards Dream” and Malia from “Malia’s Chance to Dance” face challenges during their journey. How do both girls overcome their challenges? How do Misty and Malia show that dedication can help you achieve your goals?
Jackie RobinsonBritannica Kids
In "Jackie Robinson," Britannica Kids explains how Robinson's skill and athleticism made him the first Black man to play Major League Baseball.Pair “Dancing Toward Dreams” with “Jackie Robinson” and ask students to discuss how both Misty in “Dancing Toward Dreams” and Jackie in “Jackie Robinson” showed perseverance. Misty and Jackie became “firsts” in different time periods. Why do you think they faced the same challenges? What did it take for them to push through those challenges?