Literary Terms Activities and Ideas

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Reading Assignments

Dependent upon the number of books a class reads and the class’ ability levels, some literary term lessons and activities are easier to use than others. Some students may enjoy tagging examples of literary terms with sticky notes or highlighters. For budding organizers, allow them to color-code their literary terms.

Another idea is to give students the same worksheet with every reading assignment. Such a worksheet would have literary terms listed and perhaps defined, with space for examples. If the worksheet has a list of 20 literary terms, assign different amounts each time. Ask students to complete odds or evens, or with larger reading assignments, all of them. Such sheets could be assigned as homework or used as reading notes. Students can do them individually or work collaboratively. Vary the manner that you assign the worksheets to prevent boredom.

Writing Assignments

Whatever the reading assignment, students can examine literary terms by writing. Ask students to keep a journal where they explore how effectively the author incorporated literary terms. Another method is to assign a specific literary term per chapter or story so students can focus on one literary term in a journal entry. Lastly, use a journal for students simply to find literary terms. Give students a minimum requirement, and allow them to explore. This method will also help teachers assess individual students’ confusion.

Writing needn’t be formal though. Use prewriting for every story or sprinkle it throughout literature. Allow students to make webs, lists or other forms of brainstorming that connect to the reading assignments’ literary terms. If necessary, students can later build off their ideas for a term paper, small essay or persuasive paragraph.

Fun Assignments

Ask students to create crosswords, word searches and hang-man games. The more students become familiar with terms. the more likely they are to use and apply them. Allow students to make their own quizzes over literary terms. Use those quizzes as review assignments or as actual quizzes. A final activity is to have students decorate the classroom using literary terms. Students should make posters, using pictures and quotes, to spice up the classroom. Encourage them to create or bring in objects that represent a literary term.

Another fun activity for literary term - lesson, activities, or review - is to have students create note-cards of literary terms. Note cards’ small space requires students to minimize ideas, which helps with review. Note cards can include definitions or examples. With more advanced classes, students may need to include specific information, such as page numbers. Classes that favor spatial learning may benefit from drawing a picture to associate with a specific literary terms. For instance, students may draw ‘binoculars’ for a reminder of the definition of foreshadowing.

Make It Interactive

Literary terms are important for students as they aid in both reading and writing. Teaching literary terms with fun and interactive methods will reach your students better than traditional direct instruction.