Say What?: Introducing Non-Literal Language

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SWBAT demonstrate an understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will work on identifying examples of non-literal language within a text and distinguish the meanings of literal from non-literal words and phrases in context.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

Today, I gather our students on the rug and tell them that I can’t wait for today’s language time together because I have a story to read them, and it’s one of my favorites!  I pull out a copy of the original Amelia Bedelia written by Peggy Parish and students all over the room say, “Oh, I know that book!” or “I’ve read that before!”  I tell the kids that if they’ve read this book before, than they already know what a great book this is and are bound to enjoy it again, and if they haven’t, that they’re definitely in for a treat!  I tell the students that this is one of my favorite books (which is tough to say, because as they know, I love SO many books!) because Peggy Parish really does a good job of making the text funny!  Today, as I’m reading, I want the kids to raise their hands if they hear or see any of those examples of how the text is funny!

Experience Learning

5 minutes

I begin reading, and as I get going, as soon as I come to one of the first examples of non-literal language, the kids raise their hands.  I stop and say, “What’s so funny?”  One of the students says, “Well, in the text, it says that Amelia Bedelia is supposed to change the towels, and she thinks that means she actually has to change them, like with scissors!  That’s funny!”  I say, “I agree!  That is funny!  Amelia Bedelia is so mixed up!  Nice job finding that funny part!  I’m going to keep reading!  See if you can spot any other funny parts!”   Then I continue my reading!

Label New Learning

5 minutes

As I continue to read, the students continue to raise their hands to point out the “funny parts”, all of which are examples of non-literal language.  About halfway through, I stop reading for a moment and tell the kids that they  may not know it yet, but all the while, while they’ve been finding the “funny” parts of the text, they’ve actually been finding something writers, and people, use all the time.  These funny parts are actually called “non-literal language”.  I flip to today’s anchor chart on non-literal language.

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

As a class, we go through the chart, talking about what non-literal actually means and why writers, or even people in their speech, would use non-literal language.  We add the examples we’ve found so far, and then I tell the students that I’m going to continue to read.  As they find more examples of non-literal language, they can raise their hands and we’ll add what they’ve found to the chart.


5 minutes

At the end of our story, we take a look back at all the examples we found of non-literal language!  We’ve found quite a bit!  Tomorrow, we’ll work together with this text again as we see how we can read closely to find these uses of non-literal language within a text.