Reading Hero Stories Using Curated Content From the MY HERO Library (Middle School)

Celebrate the best of humanity as students develop their reading skills. Stories appropriate for middle school, as well as stories with text and audio allowing students to listen as they read along.

The main library of MY HERO stories is organized by categories and every story has a category on top. In the library you will find curated stories submitted by people of all ages from around the world, as well as stories by professionals and staff members. Educators are encouraged to create their own list of stories for their students use. Students can also search through the library and choose a hero they would like to learn more about. In addition, the stories library has curated Selected Stories in Multiple Languages and Stories with Text and Audio. 

There are suggested story links below to use with the lesson ideas, however this is a very small sample of our resources just to help get started using MY HERO. 

Credit: MY HERO

Katherine Johnson

By: Kyra from Ankara, Turkey

Katherine Johnson plotted multiple flight courses for NASA, including the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Mary Jackson

By: Diana from San Diego

Mathematician Mary Jackson worked at NASA as an aeronautical engineer.

Activate Prior Knowledge: What do students know about the hero they are going to read about? Conduct a class discussion if students are going to read the same story. (Note that every story has a category, use the categories as a way to activate prior knowledge and thoughts about why this hero has been placed in the category.) 

Using a K-W-L Chart is another way to achieve this. Students write what they already know about the hero, what they want to learn and after reading, what they learned. For an example, have students use these stories about Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson, two women featured in the film Hidden Figures




Active Reading: Active note-taking while reading is a way for students to focus on finding information and answers to questions. Have students practice the note-taking skills already taught in class while reading a story from the MY HERO library. 

To begin, have students practice note taking using the text from Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech, link on the right. (Activate prior knowledge prior to the reading of the speech.)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" text.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream" Speech
Credit: unknown

Links to Stories about Environmental Heroes

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai

Galileo Galilei

Help Mary Save Coral

Chico Mendes

  John Muir

Jane Goodall




Post Reading Activities for students 

After reading a story about a hero, students answer "So What?"

"Why does this hero mean something to me?” “How has the hero shaped my life in some way, or showed me some fundamental truth?” Students are encouraged to make a personal connection and write a paragraph.

Students compare and contrast two stories from the MY HERO Story Collection.

What are similar characteristics about hero qualities? How can heroic actions be different? Use a Venn Diagram and write a compare/contrast essay about similarities and differences.

After reading a story, students make a connection to their life.

How did the story make you feel? What would happen if more people acted this way? How does the story inspire you? How has the story changed the way you feel or think about a topic?

Reader's Theater: After reading a hero story, have students list the characters in the story, then create simple face masks for them. Draw or print out life size heads of the characters in the hero story, glued them on cardboard, then put on them on sticks that can be held up to cover their own face, showing everyone in the class who they are representing. Or students can dress up as the character they are representing. 

Small groups can brainstorm decisive moments in the story, then act them out, creating their own dialogue and following appropriate action for the situation.

Alternately, have a student play the role of a hero and have other students interview them, or have two characters in the story debate each other over an issue in the story.

Why read MY HERO stories?

Reading a MY HERO story is a great way to begin the process of exploring what a hero is in our society.

Use of different MY HERO stories offers excellent material for compare/contrast activities, which can be aimed at refining a definition of what makes a hero, or what qualities heroes have in common.


Understanding what makes other people heroes can help the student define who could be considered a hero in his/her own life. Signing the Guestbook or writing and submitting a hero story to MY HERO can help personalize the learning experience.



Heroic Virtues: Anatomy of A Heroic Action Lesson Plan Link

“Would a hero be a hero if he or she did not possess virtues of character that were as inspiring as the 'heroic' quest itself?”

Students will explore the anatomy of a heroic act by reading stories from the MY HERO Directory and engage in a critical discussion about the difference between a heroic action or mission and the labors of everyday life expected from all of us as contributing, productive members of society.

Heroic Virtues
Credit: MY HERO

Listen and Read Stories
Credit: MY HERO

Stories with Text and Audio 

Use the link on the right for additional stories, ones that have both text and audio which allows students to read the story or listen as they read along. 

Organizer created on 7/7/2020 3:05:17 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 7/15/2020 2:58:16 PM by Laura Nietzer