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Lesson Plan: Literal and Nonliteral Language - Amelia Bedelia

Subject:  ELA- Reading

Grade: 3

Lesson Objective: To understand and identify literal and nonliteral language in a story

Common Core Standard:  :  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.4:  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.




  • Have you ever heard someone way something like, “I could eat a horse,” or “I slept like a log?”  Did you understand what they meant?  (Allow the students to answer.)



  • There are two types of words and phrases.  One is called literal language, which means that you say exactly what you mean.  Examples of literal language are, “I am very hungry” and “I slept really well last night.”
  • The other type of words or phrases are called nonliteral or figurative language.  This means that you use different words to say what you mean.  Instead of staying “I am very hungry,” you would say, “I could eat a horse.”  Both phrases mean that you are hungry, but the make different pictures in your head when you hear them.
  • By saying, “I could eat a horse,” you are making the person you are talking to understand just how hungry you are when they imagine you eating a whole horse.
  • Another example is “I slept really well last night,” and “I slept like a log.”  Which phrase give you a better picture in your head of what happened?  (Allow the students to answer.)
  • The phrase, “I slept like a log,” helps you to imagine someone sleeping so well that they didn’t move at all.
  • Can you think of any nonliteral language that you have heard or used?  (Allow the students to answer.  Make a list on the board of their responses.)
  • You are now going to read part of the book, Thank You, Amelia Bedelia.  While you are reading, I want you to think about any nonliteral language that you are reading and what it means.
  • Then, you will write the answers to the questions that are below the story.
  • Does anyone have any questions?



Who would like to share their answers?  (Allow the students to share and go over the answers and where they came from.)

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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