Monday, November 02, 2009

Similes and Metaphors

A simile is a figure of speech that compares two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as." For example: I am as hungry as a bear.

A metaphor is also a form of comparison, but it does not use "like" or "as." For example: That last math problem is a bear!

Similes and metaphors seem to often be taught in the spring, right before state tests, judging from the number of hits we get on our Poetry Friday post, "Poetry Friday -- Simile and Metaphor Poems." Why not start exploring these forms of comparisons with your students NOW, so they can be using them in their writing all year long and have the difference between the two of them internalized by April??

Here are two great books that explore metaphors and invite you to write more. Both are personal copies.

by Bernard Waber
Houghton Mifflin Books, 2002

"Courage is being the first to make up after an argument."
"Courage is breaking bad habits."
"Courage is a blade of grass breaking through the icy snow.
by Harriet Ziefert
illustrated by Jennifer Rapp
Blue Apple Books, 2005

"Misery is when your mom insists on sensible school shoes and you really want flip-flops."
"Misery is two against one -- especially if you're not part of the twosome."
"Misery is learning that you and everyone in your class will be checked for head lice!"


  1. These sound great! Love the examples. And that title--Misery is a Smell in Your Backpack. Fantastic.

  2. Delight is finding two new books to read!

    Thank you. :)

  3. I'm thinking about using the COURAGE book in my college classroom... Young readers and college students really do have more in common than many might think.

    My only issue with the second book is the application of the term "misery"--either that term is undergoing semantic bleaching, making it more applicable to everyday situations, or the author feels that kids should think misery truly is not getting to wear the shoes you want. I associate misery with much deeper things that go beyond "I'm having a bad day." Does anyone else feel that way, or am I just being too linguistically sensitive?

  4. Anonymous3:25 PM

    These sound really fun!

  5. Anonymous9:56 PM

    This is a great site! These are two awesome books that students- of all ages- will love to read!
    I teach 8th grade and just used the book Well Defined: Vocabulary In Rhyme. Reading this post reminded me of this book that I use. It is relatively new, and creates poems out of vocabulary words. In writing workshop, I encourage my kids to write their own poems with some vocab words.
    I just started a blog about reading and writing workshop... you may want to check it out... ( if you like it- please add to your blogroll!)

    Keep up the good work! :)


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