Literary techniques are the constructions of language used by an author to convey meaning. These techniques make the story more interesting to the reader. It is important that students learn to identify and understand these constructions. The mastering of these devices will help students get more enjoyment from the fiction they read—both in and out of the classroom situation.
These literary devices are commonly taught in the elementary and middle grades: Connotation, Dialogue, Dialect, Imagery, Idiom, Simile, Metaphor, Pun, Personification, Hyperbole, Understatement, Allusion, Oxymoron, Symbol, Alliteration, and Onomatopoeia.
Many of these devices fall into the category of figurative language. Figurative language uses figures of speech—phrases that go beyond the literal meaning of the words—to be more effective. Figures of speech include metaphors, similes, idioms, and hyperbole.
The study of the elements of a story goes hand in hand with the study of literary devices. The basic elements of a story are character, setting, plot, setting, and theme. Also important are point of view, tone, mood, and style.
The inclusion of figurative language in a work of literature enhances the various elements of the story. It improves a reader’s enjoyment and understanding of the literary work in several ways:
1. Figurative language helps create a mood, which refers to the atmosphere that surrounds the reader and evokes certain feelings.
2. Figurative language can enhance characterization. It can help the author reveal the characters’ traits and personality.
3. Figurative language can help the author advance or slow down the plot. The author can slow down the plot by adding long descriptive passages. He or she can use figurative language to add suspense or humor to the plot.
4. Figurative language can make the setting come alive.
In other words, the use of figurative language enriches the reader’s experience by making the text more interesting.
Figurative Language and Other Literary Devices
Figurative Language and Other Literary Devices, written by Rebecca Stark and published by Educational Books ’n’ Bingo, is available in two grade levels: Grades 5–8 and Grades 3–6. They use examples from classic and modern literature to teach these techniques and devices.
The following literary devices and techniques are covered: • Connotation,
• Irony (Grades 5–8 only)
• Sarcasm (Grades 5–8 only)
• Paradox (Grades 5–8 only)
At the end of the unit, students will be able to identify and understand these literary devices. They will also be able to use the figurative language and other literary techniques in their own writing.
Each literary device is defined. One or more examples are given from classic and/or modern literature. Students are then given opportunities to identify, explain, and use the technique.
Story Elements, written by Rebecca Stark and published by Educational Books ’n’ Bingo, is available in two grade levels: Grades 5–8 and Grades 3–6. They use examples from classic and modern literature to teach the elements of literature.
It is important that students learn to analyze and interpret the literature they read—not only for good results on standardized tests but also for enjoyment throughout their lives. To get the most out of what they read, they should be able to analyze a work’s literary elements. These books are designed to help students achieve that goal.
The books cover the following elements:
• Plot and Conflict
• Point of View
At the end of the unit, students will be able to…
• infer the setting of a story
• understand the devices and word choices that help develop the mood of a story
• understand the devices and word choices that help develop the tone of a story
• understand the elements of plot
• understand the characters in a story
• infer the characteristics and qualities of the main characters in a story
• identify the point of view and narrative voice of the story
• determine the mood of a story
• determine the tone of a story
• determine the style of a story
• identify the theme of a story
• identify the genre of a story
• understand and develop story elements in their own writing.
Each literary element is defined. One or more examples are given from classic and/or modern literature. Skill-building activities based on the literary element are provided.
Educational Books ’n’ Bingo’s Figurative Language Bingo Book and Elements of Literature Bingo Book provide practice and review of these concepts. Each book provides a complete bingo game in a book. There are enough unique bingo sheets for 30 students!
Barbara Peller, AKA Rebecca Stark, author of Figurative Language and Other Literary Devices, Story Elements, Figurative Language Bingo Book, and Elements of Literature Bingo Book.
The books described in this article are published by Educational Books ’n’ Bingo.