Upper elementary and junior high students get their message across with colorful hyperboles, malapropisms, oxymorons, and other figurative language forms.
- Recognize, understand, and appropriately use figurative language
- Understand what is funny and what isn't
Figurative language is used everywhere and students with language disorders often need specific instruction to comprehend and use it. This book of lessons helps students understand and use numerous types of word play to hold the attention of their listeners. The book is organized into nine sections:
- Hyperbole—exaggeration: I waited in line for a century.
- Pleonasms—redundancies: We wept tears of joy.
- Malapropisms—words used incorrectly: My new coat has great installation.
- Tom Swifties—puns linked with adverbs to describe how the pun was delivered: "Fire!" yelled Tom alarmingly.
- Spoonerisms—initial letter reversals: Stop chipping the flannels!
- Portmanteau—new words made from combining two words: camera and recorder—camcorder
- Oxymorons—two words of opposite meaning combined: old news
- Onomatopoeia—words that sound like their meaning: swoosh
- Humor—jokes, riddles, slapstick, etc.
The lessons provide in-depth training in the successful Spotlight series format:
- a general developmental progression
- step-by-step advancement to build success and motivation
- uncomplicated grammar
- clear explanations with examples
- a wide variety of curricular content as well as daily life experiences
- a pretest/posttest
You may purchase Spotlight on Figurative Language Colorful Language individually or as part of the Spotlight on Figurative Language 6-book set. The 6-book set consists of:
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 Colorful 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.