In-depth lessons in figurative language help students understand and use abstract expressions. Your students will detect shades of meaning, communicate clearly, and add richness to their verbal expression.
- Identify, comprehend, and use idioms, similes, metaphors, indirect language, and multiple meanings in conversation, writing, and reading tasks
- Enrich and make verbal expression similar to peers
This Spotlight series help upper elementary and junior high students comprehend and use figurative language in communication, reading, and writing. As their confidence builds they'll start using a variety of language forms to add expression to their own verbal and written communication.
The abstract aspects of figurative language are spelled out with clear explanations and examples for students with language disorders. Each book uses the successful formulate of the Spotlight series:
- lessons in general developmental progression
- step-by-step advancement to build success and motivation
- a wide variety of curricular content as well as daily life experiences
- uncomplicated grammar
- current, age-appropriate topics
- a pretest/posttest
Each book targets a specific figurative language skill area. The books may be purchased as a 6-book set or individually. The 6-book set consists of:
- Spotlight on Figurative Language Colorful Language—hyperbole, pleonasms, malapropisms, Tom Swifties, spoonerisms, portmanteau, oxymorons, onomatopoeia, and humor
- Spotlight on Figurative Language Idioms
- Spotlight on Figurative Language Indirect Language—connotations, nonverbal context clues, implied meaning, uses of polite and impolite indirect language, sarcasm, and irony
- Spotlight on Figurative Language Metaphors
- Spotlight on Figurative Language Multiple Meanings
- Spotlight on Figurative Language Similes
Copyright © 2012
The research base for specific forms of figurative language comprehension and usage is sparse, but "metaphor" and "metaphoric language" have been explored to some depth. The types of figurative language presented in these books can be classified under the general umbrella of metaphor, and the evidence under that label is relevant to the series.
- Reynolds and Ortony (1980) investigated the comprehension of similes and metaphors by second- through sixth-grade typical children. They found evidence of an ability to understand figurative language by children at all grade levels when adequate contextual supports were provided (Seidenberg & Bernstein, 1986).
- Many learning-disabled children appear to have the requisite abilities and strategies for metaphoric comprehension in their cognitive repertoires but fail to spontaneously and appropriately access and apply them when they should . . . learning-disabled children often fail to spontaneously identify the need to use appropriate, cognitive processing strategies that are well within their cognitive competence (Seidenberg & Bernstein, 1986).
- Metaphoric competence reflects an individual's cognitive level, abstract reasoning ability, and linguistic competence. The likelihood of [identifying] nonliteral responses [in figurative contexts] depends primarily on these competencies but is also influenced by an individual's familiarity with the specific figurative forms being studied (Lee & Kamhi, 1990).
- The ability to understand the motives and intentions of others is essential. Assisting children with ASDs to decode figurative language may improve their social skills in relating to others (Mackay & Shaw, 2004).
- Understanding a speaker's communicative intention is a central goal of communication and involves going beyond the literal meaning of an utterance. Children who do not understand these intentions have major communicative difficulties. Often, they are rejected by their peers, further reducing opportunities for interaction. Perhaps they struggle on with their frustration and confusion unnoticed, as the people around them continue to use figurative language. Our closer attention to the specifics of their difficulties should help them when they try to work out the meanings and intentions in the figurative language of their communicative partners (Mackay & Shaw, 2004).
Spotlight on Figurative Language incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
Lee, R.F., & Kamhi, A.G. (1990). Metaphoric competence in children with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 23(8), 476-482.
Mackay, G., & Shaw, A. (2004). A comparative study of figurative language in children with autistic spectrum disorders. Child Language Teaching & Therapy, 20(1), 13-32. doi: 10.1191/0265659004ct261oa
Reynolds, R.E., & Ortony, A. (1980). Some issues in the measurement of children's comprehension of metaphorical language. Child Development, 51, 1110-1119.
Seidenberg, P.L., & Bernstein, D.K. (1986). The comprehension of similes and metaphors by learning disabled and nonlearning-disabled children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 17, 219-229.