The Scorpion is as black as soot,
He dearly loves to bite,
He is a most unpleasant brute,
To find in bed at night.
Similes compare one thing to another using the words like or as. For example, "The scorpion is as black as soot." Students need to see and hear lots and lots of good examples of similes used in context before they will be able to recognize them quickly or use them effectively in their own writing.
For many students, learning about figurative language, such as similes, is tough. For English language learners (ELL) and students with special learning challenges, figurative language is particularly difficult.
Poems make wonderful mentor texts for teaching because they are generally short, but vocabulary rich...perfect for mini-lessons!
I love poetry and have been a longtime poem collector, so I've put together several targeted collections for teaching different kinds of figurative language.
Mentor Poems for Teaching Similes is a collection of poems for grades 3-6. Here are just a few of the poems with similes from the collection. The poems include plenty of high-interest photographs to encourage and support all learners.
Our Puppies by Evaleen Stein
Little ears as soft as silk,
Little teeth as white as milk,
Little noses cool and pink,
Little eyes that blink and blink,
Little bodies round and fat,
Little hearts that pit-a-pat,
Surely prettier puppies never,
Were before nor can be ever!
I've Got A Dog by Anonymous
I've got a dog as thin as a rail,
He's got fleas all over his tail,
Every time his tail goes flop,
The fleas on the bottom all hop to the top.
A Duck by Josephine Redmond Fishburn
A little duck is like a boat,
of yellow down when it's afloat,
It swims across the lake serene,
to lovely shadows cool and green.
Crickets at Dawn by Leonora Speyer
All night the crickets chirp,
Like little stars of twinkling sound,
In the dark silence.
Mentor Poems support the Common Core State Standards related to Similes in 4th and 5th grade in the categories (English Language Arts: Language) and (Reading: Literature).
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors. (e.g. as pretty as picture) in context.
CCSS.ELA-L.5.5.a Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors in context.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Mentor Poems for Teaching Similes by Lorrie L. Birchall is a collection of poetry for teaching similes in context to K-6 students.