differentiated instruction IMAGERY AND FIGURATIVE lANGUAGE

imagery and figurative language
Suppose the poet who wrote “Fireworks” had described her subject as
“loud and colorful.” Her poem might not have had the same impact on you.
Instead, the sound is “a far thud,” and the colors are “clear green sparks” and
“gold spears.” These are examples of images, words and phrases that call up
pictures in your mind. Images appeal to your senses of sight, hearing, smell,
taste, and touch. They help you to clearly imagine what a poem describes.
imagery and figurative
Imagery Tell students that as they read a
poem or listen to someone read it aloud, they
should pay close attention to the images or
word pictures the poem creates. How do the
images make them feel? What sights, smells,
sounds, tastes, or textures come to mind?
One way that poets create images is through figurative language, the use
of creative comparisons to describe familiar things in new ways. Review the
three types of figurative language in the graphic. What does each example
tell you about the autumn leaves?
Have students use copies of the Two-Column
Chart transparency as they read the examples
on page 548. Students should
• use the left column to jot down words and
phrases from each poem that appeal to
the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, or
• use the right column to record their reactions to the images
Images from Poem
a comparison between two unlike things
that includes the word like or as
a description of an object, an animal, or
an idea as if it were human or had human
qualities and reactions
In a high wind the
leaves don’t
fall but fly
straight out of the
tree like birds
“Poem”: leaves flying
like birds out of the
New sounds to
walk on
in hoarse
under bare trees.
—“Poem” by A. R. Ammons
“December Leaves”:
leaves as cornflakes
in a wide dish
“New Sounds”: dry
leaves making a
sound like hoarse
a comparison between two unlike things
that does not include the word like or as
—“New Sounds” by Lilian Moore
The fallen leaves are cornflakes
That fill the lawn’s wide dish,
—from “December Leaves” by
Kaye Starbird
Two-Column Chart p. A25
Analysis Frame: Poetic Language and Style
pp. D23, D40, D41
unit 5: the language of poetry
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differentiated instruction
for less–proficient readers
Comprehension Support:
Figurative Language
• Have students review the examples and
use a Two-Column Chart to record what is
being compared in each example.
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• Reread each example and ask students to
brainstorm words that describe the feeling
the figurative language creates for them.
For example, leaves that “fly / straight out
of the / tree like birds” suggest a joyful,
energetic feeling.
Figurative Language
compared to
leaves compared to
leaves compared to
leaves compared to
people whispering
Two-Column Chart p. A25
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Reader’s Workshop
Part 3: Analyze the Literature
In this poem, Eve Merriam transports you to a familiar scene—a dinner table.
You’ll see how Merriam uses many of the techniques you just learned about
to help you understand the speaker’s relationship with his or her parents.
Practice and Apply
Part 3: Analyze the Literature
Close Read
Possible answers:
1. Like bookends, the mother and father prop
up, or support, the speaker. And, like bookends unable to read the books, the parents
are unable to “read” the speaker’s emotions.
like bookends
Poem by Eve Merriam
Like bookends
my father at one side
my mother at the other
propping me up
but unable to read
what I feel.
Were they born with clothes on?
Born with rules on?
When we sit at the dinner table
we smooth our napkins into polite folds.
How was your day dear
And how was yours dear
And how was school
The same
Only once in a while
when we’re not trying so hard
when we’re not trying at all
our napkins suddenly whirl away
and we float up to the ceiling
where we sing and dance until it hurts from laughing
and then we float down
with our napkin parachutes
and once again spoon our soup
and pass the bread please.
Close Read
1. Notice the simile in
lines 1–6. How are the
mother and father like
2. The use of repetition in
lines 7–8 emphasizes
the speaker’s frustration
with his or her parents.
What other examples of
repetition can you find?
3. Examine the two
boxed images. What
contrasting dinner
scenes do they bring to
4. Line 22 is the longest
one in the poem. Why
might Merriam have
chosen to make this line
stand out? (Hint: Think
about the mood at this
particular moment.)
5. How would you
describe the speaker’s
relationship with his or
her parents? Support
your answer.
reader’s workshop
2. In lines 11–16, repetition mimics the family’s
routine dinner conversation. In lines 18–19,
repetition emphasizes the difference when
the family is “not trying so hard” to make
3. The first boxed image suggests a dinner
scene in which everyone is being overly polite. The second boxed image conjures up a
scene in which family members are enjoying
each other’s company.
4. In line 22, the mood is lighthearted and
joyful, rather than uncomfortable. The line
length emphasizes the change in mood at
the family dinner table.
5. The speaker seems to have a loving relationship with his or her parents, but the three
have trouble communicating. The parents
are supportive, but they are not in tune with
the speaker’s feelings. Conversations at the
dinner table are awkward, but every once in
a while, the family members connect.
Assess and Reteach
Have students describe the form, speaker,
sound devices, imagery, and figurative language in the poems on pages 547 and 549.
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differentiated instruction
for less–proficient readers
for english learners
Analysis Support: Poetry Elements [paired
option] Have pairs of students complete a
Spider Map to analyze the elements of “Like
Bookends.” Ask them to include examples
of these elements: form, speaker, imagery,
and figurative language. Then have the pairs
compare and discuss their Spider Maps.
Comprehension: Dialogue Conventions
Explain that poetry does not always use conventional punctuation. Point out that lines
11–16 of “Like Bookends” represent dialogue
between family members at the dinner table.
Lines 11, 13, and 15 are questions posed to
different family members. The responses are
shown in italic type in lines 12, 14, and 16. Ask
students to explain how these lines would
look with conventional punctuation.
Spider Map p. B22
Select from these options for students who
have trouble applying the workshop skills:
1. Pair students with classmates who have
grasped the lesson. Assign each pair to
reread a poem and then create flashcards
with questions and answers about the
form, speaker, sound devices, imagery, and
figurative language used in the poem.
2. Meet with small groups to review students’
note-taking copy masters. Clarify terms
and concepts, illustrating each one with
concrete examples.
reader’s workshop
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