This week’s Mentor Monday (a link up feature at The Reading Tutor/OG blog) is about using text to help teach figurative language. I realize I am a day late this week, but I am very excited about this topic and have a few perfect books to highlight similes and metaphors.
Personally, I love similes and metaphors, as well as all kinds of figurative language in literature and poetry. I am not sure the best way to teach my writing co-op students about the concept, but I am excited to give it a try in a few weeks!
The first book I enjoy is My Best Friend is Sharp as a Pencil by Hanoch Piven, which treats similes as the focal point of the book. In this book, a girl describes her friends and teachers at school by using school supplies and familiar items: sharp as a pencil, loud as a kazoo, fancy as lipstick. The art work is collage art using the items to describe the people, so it adds a double element of interest to the similes described. It is not a subtle book, but it does provide vivid examples of what similes actually are! I think we will begin with this book when our writing workshop turns to figurative language in a few weeks.
My next book suggestion has much less text and is geared to a much younger reader. One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer is a big brother book, where a boy looks forward to a new sibling. Before we meet the new sibling, we learn about Spencer: he is strong as a… and a picture of a bear playing with him fills the page. Funny as a… and monkey joins him. I love how this encourages the young reader to finish the simile. At the end, of course, he is more than all of that as the animals subside to the background and a new baby helps him be gentle. Although this book would be perfect for teaching very young children about similes, I believe it would also do wonders for the older student as well. Have them illustrate their own similes of who they are!
Finally, my favorite book to demonstrate metaphor is Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman. In this book-length poem, color is a metaphor for everything throughout the year. I simply love the poem. I have not used it yet in teaching, but I’m thinking April will be our figurative language month. I hope the students enjoy reading sections of this poem with me as we enjoy the colors of the seasons! I think this book is a fantastic one, especially for those who already understand the concept of simile and metaphor.
What books would you suggest for teaching simile and metaphor to writing students?
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