Lessons & Units :: Figurative Language 3rd Grade Unit

Lesson 1: Similes

Lesson Plan

Learning Goal
Identify similes and explain their meaning.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials


• “The Lightning Strike” Passage
• “The Surprise Party” Passage
• “The Surprise Party” Answer Key
• “Examples of Similes” Handout
• “Similes” Worksheet

  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain the meaning of similes (figurative language that compares two unlike objects by using the words “like,” “as,” or “than”). A simile is a phrase or statement that compares two different things by using the words “like” or “as.” Authors may use similes to put clear images into a reader’s head. I will give three examples of similes. I will identify the things being compared and the similes’ meaning. (You may use the “Examples of Similes” handout in Texts & Materials to present these examples.) Examples: “The snow is like a blanket.” “The bread is as hard as nails.” “The riverbed is as dry as a bone.” I will read the passage “The Surprise Party” (included in Texts & Materials) aloud. I will identify the similes in the passage and explain their meaning. For example, in the first sentence the author compares Grace’s mouth to a bus. The author writes that “Grace has a mouth as big as a bus.” We know that statement is a simile because it uses the word “as” to make a comparison. What does the simile mean? We know Grace’s mouth isn’t really as big as a bus because that is impossible. Buses are too big. When people say someone “has a big mouth,” it means that person talks about things that are supposed to be kept secret. The author must mean that Grace is someone who tells secrets.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I identify a simile in the story, and how did I figure out the simile’s real meaning? Students should respond that you used words such as "like" and "as" to help you find a sentence that compares two things. Then you thought about the comparison and what meaning the author was trying to give the reader.

  • Guided Practice

    will read the story “Lightning Strike.” Note: There are several similes in the story. Challenge students to identify them as you reread the text aloud. For each simile, ask students what is being compared. Then ask what the meaning of the simile is. Here are some examples of similes in the story:


    - Alex leapt out of the car like an antelope.

    - The words hit Alex like hailstones, angering him further.

    - At the end of the lane, the ball hit the pins with the sound of a thunderclap. They flew apart like startled geese.

  • Independent Practice

    will identify similes in the short passage in the "Similes" worksheet, what they compare, and their meaning. (The worksheet is included in Texts & Materials.)

Build Student Vocabulary ruin

Tier 2 Word: ruin
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story

"The party was supposed to be fun. Now it had been completely ruined."

Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)

To ruin means to damage or wreck something. If a party has been ruined, that means it has been spoiled and is no longer fun.

Students repeat the word Say the word ruin with me: ruin.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts

Don’t ruin the movie by talking through it. If they build a store here, it will ruin the view from my window. Her dress was ruined when coffee spilled down the front of it. They claim that pollution is ruining the river.

Students provide examples

Tell me about something that has been ruined. How was it ruined? Here’s an example based on “The Surprise Party:” “The surprise was ruined when Grace told her mom about the party.”

Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? ruin
Additional Vocabulary Words doom, order

Build Student Background Knowledge

After reading "The Surprise Party," explain to students that hornets are insects and part of the wasp family. Hornets are predators that feed on other bugs, such as bees and flies. Hornets do not harm humans unless provoked, but their sting is painful. It normally causes the stung area to swell and turn red. Some people are allergic to the venom in a hornet’s sting, however. These people will have more serious reactions if they get stung. Use this information to help your class understand the phrase "mad as a hornet."

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

User Comments

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Very useful with my TC Reading Lesson (figurative language ) - For those students who don't read at grade level - I read the text to them and we underlined the phrases and talked about them. Thank you.

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Awesome Lesson! Really aded my students in understanding similes.