Figurative Language is Tricky! Help Your Students Learn to “Figure” it Out!

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The English language is filled with figurative language. Many have been used for so long and are so common that people often don’t even consider them to be abstract! If you work with students who struggle understanding abstract and figurative language or who have poor executive functions, they likely miss a lot of meaning during conversation and when reading.

I found that with my clients, they often understood and had been taught basic figurative expressions such as, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” but struggled with the more commonly used phrases and slang. You might be surprised if you ask your students to define some of these common phrases. When a student is having a bad day, tell them to “hang in there” and then ask them if they can explain what that means.

I recently spent a few weeks compiling a list of the most commonly used expressions that aren’t obviously figurative. I used those 90 phrases and made a basic card game to be used with any game or activity. I also incorporated executive function skills and use of context clues in the instruction to help students learn to use self-talk, or their inner voice and to consider the context to help them figure out the meaning.

You can find it here:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Figurative-Language-Use-Self-Talk-and-Context-to-Figure-it-Out-3379550

In my search for the most commonly used phrases, I discovered a useful site called idioms4you.com. Although, use with caution, because it does contain many pop up ads, some which are inappropriate for children.  I like it because it offers an audio definition of the phrase and quizzes. Here is the link:

http://www.idioms4you.com/new/new.php

I hope you and your students will “get a kick out of it”!

The Creative SLP

 

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