Was That For Real?: Identifying Non-Literal Language in Text

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SWBAT demonstrate an understanding of word relationships and nuance in word meanings by locating examples within a text.

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 by reading closely and taking notes.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

To start our lesson today, I ask the students what they remember about the main character Amelia Bedelia that we read about yesterday.  Students offer that she’s funny, she gets mixed up easily, and that she doesn’t understand how to follow directions!  I say that I agree with all of this, and this is all because the author, Peggy Parish, wrote the words to make Amelia Bedelia act this way.  She made it so that Amelia Bedelia didn’t understand non-literal language.  I ask if anyone remembers what non-literal language means, and students tell me that “non” means “not” and “literal” means “actually”, so “non-literal” means “not actually”.  Perfect!

Experience Learning

5 minutes

I flip back to the anchor chart we used yesterday and remind the students of how many examples of non-literal language they found yesterday just by listening and following along!  I tell them how proud of them I am because look how many they found-wow!  Today, I want to show them how we can do this same finding whenever we’re reading on our own by reading closely and taking notes.  I pull up the full text of Amelia Bedelia on our SmartBoard.  I tell the students again that I’m going to read through the text, and when we encounter some non-literal language, I want the kids to stop me because I’m going to make a note right within the text where we found the example.

I begin reading, and as soon as we get to the “change the towels” example, kids tell me to stop.  I tell the kids that I need three pieces of information here:

1)   what the text says

2)   what that literally means

3)   what the non-literal meaning is

For this example, the students help me identify:

1)   “change the towels”

2)   change the towels by cutting them

3)   take down the dirty towels and put out clean towels

I document all of this on the SmartBoard on a digital Post-It/Sticky Note and set it along side the text where we found it.

Label New Learning

5 minutes

After we document this first example of non-literal language, I tell the students that this is what reading closely is all about: reading carefully, paying attention to the words and their meanings, and even making notes about what we found in the text.

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

I ask our paper passers to help with passing out a copy of Amelia Bedelia to each student and some Post-Its to each student.  I tell the students that I want them to make the same note we just made as a class and put it into the text where we found that example.

Once everyone has this note, I tell them that we’ll keep reading and we’ll keep looking for more examples.  As we find them, let’s take a note of the three parts of information we need and stick it into the text where we found them! We continue to read and make our notes!


5 minutes

When we’re finished today, students comment about how fun that was!  I tell them that tomorrow, they’ll get to work in partners to again, read through the text closely and make notes of any non-literal language they find.  But, tomorrow, they’ll get a new text, and I have three choices for them:

Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia written by Peggy Parish

Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia written by Peggy Parish

Amelia Bedelia and the Masterpiece written by Herman Parish

I ask each partner group to put their preference in order on a Post-It note (so 1 is their first choice title, 2 is their second choice, and 3 is their third choice) so that I can divvy up books for their partner teams tomorrow!  Then I collect all Post-Its and work from today!