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Idiomatic Language
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  • Develops/reinforces understanding and use of idiomatic language

  • Develops/reinforces metalinguistic skills

  • Reinforces reading skills


Prepare several short, one-paragraph stories containing an idiom"Henry stood on the stage to tell his story. He got cold feet! He ran off the stage shaking. He walked back on the stage, looked at the audience bravely and told his story. He won first prize for story telling!" Put in a box.

  • Students read the story.

  • Ask students what the sentence means. Show two pictures-one of the literal meaning and one of the figurative meaning.

  • Students decide which picture is correct.

  • Discuss what the sentence means literally and what it means figuratively. Explain that there are many structures like this is the English language.

  • Have the students think of other situations or personal experiences in which this idiom could be used.

  • Present 3 or 4 more stories using similar procedures.

Anchor 1
Advancing the Strategy
  1. Reinforcement and practice activities.

  2. For younger students:

    • Use figurative langauge prepared prior to the experience. Students identify phrases and locate them in the story.

    • Use phrases conveying meaning of figurative langauge in sign. Students practice comparing sign and English phrases.

    • Read the sentences to the students. Ask students to “read” the sentences giving them as much help as necessary for success.

    • Students identify illustations of figurative language and put them into a photo album. Write a sentence about each picture.

    • Write one or two sentences from the language experience story on a large sheet of paper. Give each student a paper, read the sentences, illustrate the sentences with original artwork.

  3. For older students:

    • Use the steps in a process writing approach. After the students have written their stories, share them with a small group of students who respond to the composition (commenting on parts that are well-done and asking for clarification on parts that are unclear).

    • Students revise composition  adding figurative langauge forms when appropriate and return to response groups until they are satisfied with the content. Students edit composition for changes in syntax and punctuation commensurate with their skill levels.

    • When composition is in final form, students may select formats for publication .

Anchor 2

Note: Click on the worksheet to download a copy.

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