Figurative language brings books and poetry to life for all readers! No wonder most learning standards cover the special topic. This list of books that teach figurative language will help teachers across grade levels.
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Using Books That Teach Figurative Language
Teaching figurative language can be so much fun!
No matter what grade you teach, when you show your students examples of figurative language in different formats, it helps them better understand it.
I often use videos, music lyrics, hands-on activities, and books that show how figurative language looks in context.
Plus, the examples from the books that teach figurative language gives my students more ideas for how to use it in their own writing.
What Are the 10 Types of Figurative Language?
Many different groups of literary devices exist and figurative language is one set of them.
There are 10 main types of figurative language that teachers cover:
These book ideas below will offer choices for the first 7 types of figurative language listed.
Picture Books Teaching Similes and Metaphors
Since similes and metaphors are so closely related, they are often taught together, but several of the books listed below actually break them apart and teach them in isolation.
You will enjoy introducing the duo to your students with these fun books.
Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story by Loreen Leedy not only has great illustrations that show similes in action, but the entire book contains only similes.
You’re Toast and Other Metaphors We Adore by Nancy Loewen has metaphor examples plus examples of idioms that you can use.
Stubborn as a Mule and Other Silly Similes is also written by Nancy Loewen. I really like how it also shows similes in a nonfiction text.
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood makes a fun intro for poetry writing while also teaching about similes.
My Mouth is a Volcano written by Julia Cook has excellent examples of metaphors woven throughout out the book. But I don’t just use it to teach students about metaphors.
This book also makes a really good back to school read aloud to help establish procedures and teach kids about self-control and respect for others.
Related Resource: My Mouth is a Volcano Book Companion Set
Read-Alouds That Teach Personification
Another category of books that teach figurative language includes personification read-alouds, which is one of my favorite types of literary devices to teach!
There are lots of great mentor texts that also use natural examples of personification throughout the story, helping students see it in context.
Here are a few of my favorites:
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywelt plus its part two companion both make excellent picture books for the topic of personification.
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds is just right for personification and Halloween-themed reading.
The Bad Seed by John Jory isn’t just one of my favorite books for teaching personification, but I also use it as a mentor text for teaching empathy.
Related Resources: The Bad Seed Book Companion Set and The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors Book Companion Set
Children’s Books with Alliteration
What would willful teachers with wacky students wind up wishing for on Wednesdays?
I don’t know, but I just had to throw in my own example of alliteration!
Here are some interesting picture books that making learning about alliteration easy for your students:
Chips and Cheese and Nana’s Knees: What is Alliteration by Brian Cleary, who also writes other engaging children’s books.
In fact, he has several more books that teach figurative language, plus more fun picture books that make interesting math read-alouds.
Not only that, but Chips and Cheese is offered for FREE through Amazon’s reading program: Kindle Unlimited, which I’ve used so much as a teacher and mom.
Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Pamela Duncan Edwards also wrote the book Some Smug Slug, which is a mentor text for alliteration, but also a good book for teaching kids to define unknown words using context clues.
Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke; yes this one is also written by Pamela Duncan Edwards. I guess we can say that she really loves alliteration!
The Spaghetti-Slurping Sewer Serpent by Laura Ripes
More Books that Teach Figurative Language
Hyperboles can be challenging since you may have students confuse them with other types of figurative language.
Parts by Tedd Arnold is a three-part series that can really help students see visuals along with hyperbole examples.
A fun read aloud for teaching onomatopoeia is A Mouthful of Onomatopoeia: Words I Know by Bette Ann Blaisdell. This book has real pictures that connect sound words with real-life examples.
To introduce or reinforce idioms, I recommend In a Pickle: And Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban.
Ideas for Teaching Figurative Language
As you incorporate these picture books that teach figurative language into your classroom, here are other general ideas you can add with them:
- Do a figurative language scavenger hunt with other books, poems, newspapers, or magazine reading.
- Use music lyrics to also reinforce different examples of figurative language. Having music in the classroom can be such an effective tool for classroom management too!
- Instead of teaching one unit on figurative language, find little ways to weave in snippets of it throughout the full school year and include it with student writing assignments.
- Give hands-on practice identifying figurative language examples. I enjoy including task cards into our literacy center rotations that have figurative language practice.
This ice-cream themed task card set not only gives students engaging practice with figurative language, but it also has QR Codes for easy self-checking.
It is standards-aligned and available HERE or by clicking the image below.
Extra Read-Aloud Lists + ELA/Grammar Teaching Resources
Here are more book ideas, along with content geared toward ELA and Grammar instruction you can use in your classroom:
- 10 Happy New Year’s Book for Kids
- 6 Easy Ways to Make Grammar Fun
- Ideas to Help Older Students Who Struggle with Spelling
- 15 Fun Winter Read-Alouds for Upper Elementary Students
- Books That Teach Poetry and Celebrate Diversity
- Children’s Books That Teach The Golden Rule
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Happy Teaching 🦋