Tim Rasinskiis a renowned professor the literacy education whose study on analysis fluency and also word study has actually made the a proficiency hero come many. Below, he share his thoughts on teaching idioms.

An idiom is an expression whose definition is different from the literal meaning, like “It’s rain cats and dogs.” Find more idiom resources on Vocabularybenidormclubdeportivo.org.

You are watching: A word or phrase that is not meant to be taken literally

Some the the most challenging words (and phrases) because that students to learn are those that are metaphorical in nature – native not intended to it is in taken literally. Idiomatic expressions, a kind of figurative language, are among the most challenging words because that students come learn. Expressions prefer going bananas, it’s rain cats and also dogs, a chip on her shoulder, and it’s every Greek come me, room not to it is in taken literally. The an interpretation of these expressions is hidden. It is as much as the listener or leader to recognize the underlying meaning of together expressions. Whether created or spoken, idiomatic expressions space common. Authors use idioms to do their writing an ext interesting and also authentic.

Yet, uneven the reader understands the hidden definition of the idiom, s/he will certainly have an obstacle understanding the text in i m sorry the idiom is situated. Provided the prominence in expertise idioms, it seems reasonable to intend that figurative language, and also idiomatic expressions in particular, be an integral part of a reading/language art curriculum. However, if you take a look at reading and language art instructional programs, you will certainly find, in ~ best, just a limited amount the coverage in any type of such topics. So what to do?

There room literally thousands of idioms that are worth teaching. One method that I could suggest is to teach idioms through themes or topics. At the start of the week, recognize a theme that consists of a variety of idiomatic expressions. The website The Idiom link has arranged expressions by theme. Over there you will find themes such as clothes idioms, animal idioms, number idioms, sports idioms, and also more. Pick (or ask her students to select) 8-10 idioms that belong to the chosen theme. Display screen these idioms ~ above a chart along with their basic or covert meaning. Below is a chart because that dog idioms.


Keep the display up transparent the week and also encourage students to usage the displayed expressions in their own oral and written language. For example, you could ask students to use at least one idiom in their an individual journal in ~ the end of each day. That course, if you want students to use the expressions, you’ll need to find ways to usage them yourself. For example, if a student gives an incorrect an answer to a question, you could say the he’s “barking up the dorn tree,” or if you don’t think the school major will like an idea you could say, “well you simply can’t teach one old dog brand-new tricks,” or if you have a team of student who room “hounding” you with a request, you might tell them come “call turn off the dogs.” as you deserve to probably see, finding ways to use these expressions is a fun difficulty for both you and also your students.

After having actually playfully supplied the idioms transparent the week students will certainly probably have a an excellent understanding of them. But if you desire to take it it one step further, at the finish of the mainly ask student to job-related by us or with a companion to compose a i or 2 that summarizes the work-related done end the mainly or the plan students might have for the weekend and also embed as countless of the week’s expressions as possible. Here’s an instance of what one student composed recently:

“My sister and I have actually been hounding our parents to take us to the high college football game this weekend. Due to the fact that he didn’t want to be in the doghouse, Dad finally told us to call off the dogs – the agreed that he would lastly take us. However, because it is supposed to rain cats and also dogs this weekend, we think we could ask Dad to let resting dogs lie and wait for another day to take united state to a game.”

Can friend imagine the fun of having students read and discuss their brief compositions v their classmates ~ above a Friday afternoon? Moreover, you have the right to save the an extremely best essays come share with students in the complying with school years. Learning to read and learning words have to be fun. Bringing idioms into your classroom is certain to include joy and also authentic discovering to her classroom experience.

Other Idiom Resources:


Tim Rasinski is a professor that literacy education at Kent State University.His study on reading has been cited by the nationwide Reading Panel and also has been published in journals together asReading research study Quarterly,The analysis Teacher, analysis Psychology,and theJournal ofEducational Research.Read more about Rasinski here, or attach with that on Twitter

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For much more from Tim Rasinski, proceed to follow united state for his to exclude, Vocabularybenidormclubdeportivo.org blog collection and be sure to watch a video recording that his webinar“Automaticity (Fluency) in indigenous Learning boosts Comprehension”

Rasinski’s research study on word fluency is cited in the report,“Applying ideal Practices For efficient Vocabulary Instruction,”written by Vocabularybenidormclubdeportivo.org in partnership through McREL International.