Do you want your students’ writing to grip you like a thriller novel?
Marvelous, moving writing makes use of figurative language to interest readers. In fact, both skilled writers and readers need to know their way around figurative language. So, how can you teach your students about figurative language? There are plenty of options for teaching figurative language in engaging and exciting ways.
But, what is figurative language exactly?
Types of Figurative Language
There are several main types of figurative language that students typically learn about in 4th and 5th grade as per the standards. The types of figurative language included in the standards include:
- Similes: Examples: As quick as a wink, roared like a lion
- Metaphors: Examples: A blanket of snow, the moon was a silver dollar
- Idioms, Adages, and Proverbs: Examples: The early bird gets the worm, A penny saved is a penny earned, Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all
However, you may also choose to include other types of figurative speech such as:
- Alliteration: Example: Many mumbling mice
- Onomatopoeia: Examples: Moo, Ding dong!
- Personification: Examples: The leaves danced in the wind, the car grumbled and was reluctant to start
- Hyperbole: Examples: As hungry as a horse, the backpack weighed a ton
Teaching Figurative Speech
Figurative speech can be a lot of fun for students. Here are three ways to teach figurative speech:
- Out of Context: Teaching figurative speech explicitly means showing students isolated examples. Once you’ve given students a few examples of one type of figurative speech, chances are they can help add to the list.
- To help inspire children, you can give them certain nouns to describe using figurative speech. For example, ask your students to personify a car. Or, ask your students to write a simile about bananas. This can help get their gears turning.
- In Stories, Poems, and Songs: There are many wonderful examples of figurative speech in stories, poems, and even songs. For example, Firework by Katy Perry has several examples of similes and metaphors.
- After reading, you can ask children to find examples of the figure of speech that you’re studying.
- In Writing: Encourage students to write poems and stories using figures of speech! Set them up for success by providing anchor charts and posters to remind students what each figure of speech is.
Resources for Teaching Figurative Speech
I have created some resources that make teaching figurative speech a piece of cake! With these resources, you can help your students master figurative speech very quickly. Check them out:
Digital Figurative Language Reading Comprehension Passages & Questions, Posters (Digital and Print Resource): Do you want your students to practice identifying examples of figurative speech in reading passages? In these passages, each type of figurative speech is targeted, giving your students practice in recognizing each type of figurative speech in context. The passages are leveled for students in 3rd-4th grade.
Figurative Language Flip Book & Posters (Digital and Print Resource): Focusing on similes, metaphors, idioms, hyperbole, alliteration, and onomatopoeia, this resource is a perfect review or start to your figurative language unit. It allows students to get to know and practice each type of figurative language. Then, students can use the resource as a reference as they continue to use figurative language.
Idiom of the Week (Digital and Print Resource): With this resource, children will learn 40 new idioms. You can choose to do one each week, or double up if you prefer. Then, students learn the meaning of each idiom as well as practice using them in context. It’s an especially great resource for English language learners who haven’t ever heard idioms in English before.
Focus on Metaphors and Similes (Digital and Print Resource): This resource helps students master metaphors and similes. Not only do they learn many examples of each, but they also practice using them in context. This is a great resource to focus on these types of figurative speech and then encourage students to come up with their own similes and metaphors.
Figurative Language Pennants (Digital and Print Resource): Perfect for practicing all types of figurative speech, this resource also makes a great bulletin board. Templates are provided for each type of figurative speech, which students use to research and learn more about the type of speech. This is a great resource for a deep dive into figurative speech.
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