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Grades 9–12
1.5 Hours
Memoir, Narrative
Videos

For Every One

by Jason Reynolds
Part letter, part long-form poem, "For Every One" offers reflections and courageous words about unraveling and rebuilding one's dreams.
What You Will Do

First, find a cozy spot that is free of noise and distractions, if possible. Then, watch Jason Reynolds read his poem, “For Every One.” Keep a notebook and a writing utensil nearby so you can write down words or phrases that catch your attention as you watch.

Once you have finished watching the video, look at the list of words and phrases from the video that you connected with. Quietly reflect on why those phrases resonated with you and free-write a short paragraph about your answers. Here are a few questions to start with:

  • Was it the meaning of the phrase that you gravitated towards?
  • Did certain words sound beautiful together?
  • Was it how the performance elements blended with the words?

Next, in your notebook, make a list of your current dreams for the future. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What kind of person do you hope you’ll be?
  • What kind of life do you hope you’ll lead?
  • What kind of world do you hope you’ll live in?

Last, write a letter to yourself in your notebook. In your letter, address your dreams, going into greater detail about at least 2 of them:

  • What do you think you’ll need to do to achieve your dreams?
  • What challenges do you anticipate tackling? What successes do you think you’ll celebrate?

Leave yourself words of encouragement throughout your letter, as well. You are the person who knows you best: What advice would you give your future self?

Sign your letter with your name and write the current date. Put your letter into the envelope and label it with your name. Stash it some place safe and return to it whenever you need a reminder of your dreams or words of encouragement. You could also scan your letter into a computer, so you never lose it.

Optional extension: Check out Jason Reynolds’ Spark, “A Place Worth Being,” for more writing inspiration.

 

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