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Tip 15: Use Literature to Teach Language

Posted on April 16, 2012 in Literacy, News

Trying to teach idioms, homonyms, metaphors, similes, jokes, or sarcasm? Try using picture books and other kiddie lit. There are so many fun titles that can be used with individual students or as part of a whole class lesson.

Some of my favorites are:

Book cover for The King Who Rained

The King Who Rained

Confused by the different meanings of words that sound alike, a little girl imagines such unusual sights as “a king who rained” and “the foot prince in the snow.”

Book cover for It Figures!

It Figures!

An introduction to six common figures of speech — metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, personification, alliteration, and hyperbole — with guidelines for their use and numerous illustrative examples.

Book cover for Crazy Like a Fox

Crazy Like a Fox

Similes set off an exciting chase scene in an adventure in language arts. Rufus the fox is up to something. He runs across the meadow as fast as lightning, sneaks up to Babette like a thief in the night, and roars like a lion. Babette, mad as a hornet, chases Rufus all over town. But is Rufus being chased or is he actually leading Babette to a surprise destination? Rufus sure is crazy–crazy like a fox! Sure to make the reader as happy as a clam, this bright simile story also includes a clear explanation of similes and shows how to include similes in a story.

After sharing these texts, have students try their hands at creating their own examples and illustrations.


  1. From Julie Mecikalski on 17 Apr 2012

    I love Fred Gwynne’s books: “The King Who Rained,” “A Chocolate Moose for Dinner” and “A Little Pigeon Toad” – all with some kind of literary meanings. I used them for lessons when I was in college.