In a Manner of Speaking: Figurative Language and the Common Core

Activities for Practice and Reinforcement

Shared Reading
Shared reading time provides opportunities to revisit figurative language long after your initial instruction. This component of the literacy block allows for multiple readings of a short, engaging text to be read and re-read over several sessions—each time with a different purpose in mind.  The first two sessions might focus on the main idea and key details, but subsequent sessions could analyze the author’s craft.  What did the writer do, and why? Figurative language is certainly an aspect of craft that you will want to remind students about and encourage them to notice. See Books for Figurative Language Lessons for some possibilities.

Create and Write
After reading some of the books in the Books for Figurative Language list, you might have younger students try to create a simile poem about an animal or pet using this format: 

  As ___ as a ____
  As ___ as a ____
  As ___ as a ____
  Is (the,my) _________! offers a student interactive flip book that middle elementary students could create online and print out, much like their own personal dictionaries.  Each tab of the booklet could be dedicated to a different literary device, or students could brainstorm multiple similes using the same starter words (as fast as______, as tough as ____). Options allow for illustrations if desired. A similar option that shows four types of figurative language on one sheet is available from Scholastic.

Mix 'n match books are fun to assemble.  Read here about how one teacher used them along with thinking maps to help her students understand similes and metaphors.

Find many ideas for ways to construct books for figurative language (and other topics) on the Bookmaking with Kids blog.

The time4writing site has a Powerpoint about figurative language, along with a worksheet for review or assessment, and a game.

This online Jeopardy like game asks students to identify whether a sentence uses a simile or metaphor.

If you wish to provide a rich historical context for practicing similes, you might look at this lesson from  The lesson centers around children in Europe who were evacuated from urban centers during WWII and sent to live in the country.  Using historical photographs and writings as primary sources, students explore how similes might be used to evoke emotions or create a mood as they craft a poem using this template as a basic structure. Teachers can easily modify this lesson for a different historical time period, or connect it to historical fiction reading.


Check for Understanding

Project this simile exercise  and have students find the item being compared and what it is being compared to.

Here are some examples of metaphors, with multiple choice for students to determine the meaning.

A metaphors match-up worksheet is available at Spelling City for practice or assessment.

Using a short story called “The Haircut,” (included on the sheet) students can go on a metaphor hunt with this worksheet.  Other worksheets are available here from K12Reader.

IntroductionFigurative Language LessonsPractice and ReinforcementBooks for Lessons