50 Literary terms every English teacher should know

My english teacher knew more cliche's than you can poke a stick at

My english teacher knew more cliche's than you can poke a stick at

Every aspect of life has its own vocabulary.  Jargon, lingo and terminology which is essential to function in that field of expertise and appear credible to those around you.  

As an English teacher, tutor or even a student there are some essential terms required to run and participate in an effective English class.

Knowing these literary terms and their meanings will greatly enhance your students learning opportunities and enhance your own professional understanding of your craft.

Hopefully, you already know most of these but here is the definitive list of what you need to know in order to 'walk the walk, and talk the talk' as a quality English teacher

Accented:   a word, syllable, or musical note or chord) stressed or emphasized.

Allegory:  A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Alliteration:  The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. ‘the alliteration of ‘sweet birds sang’’

Analysis:  Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something.

Assonance:  Resemblance of sound between syllables of nearby words, arising particularly from the rhyming of two or more stressed vowels, but not consonants (e.g. sonnet, porridge), but also from the use of identical consonants with different vowels (e.g. killed, cold, culled) ‘the use of assonance throughout the poem creates the sound of despair’

Ballad:  A poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. Traditional ballads are typically of unknown authorship, having been passed on orally from one generation to the next.

Biography:  An account of someone's life written by someone else.

Character:  A person in a novel, play, or film. - The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. 

Chiasmus:  A rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order. 

Chronological:  following the order in which they occurred.

Cliche:  A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.‘that old cliché ‘a woman's place is in the home’’

Comparison

Comparison

Comparison:  A consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.

‘they drew a comparison between Gandhi's teaching and that of other teachers’

Contrast:  The state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association.

‘the day began cold and blustery, in contrast to almost two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine’  

Description:  A spoken or written account of a person, object, or event.

Dialogue:  A conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or film.

Drama:  A play for theatre, radio, or television.

Epic:  A long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the past history of a nation.

Fact:  A thing that is known or proved to be true.

Fantasy:  A genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.

Fiction:  Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

A figure of speech:  A word or phrase used in a non-literal sense for rhetorical or vivid effect.

Fairy Tale:  A children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands; a fairy story.

Folk Tale:  A story originating in popular culture, typically passed on by word of mouth.

Form:  The structure of a word, phrase, sentence, or discourse.

Generalization:  A general statement or concept obtained by inference from specific cases.

Genre:  A style or category of art, music, or literature.

Hyperbole:  Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Idiom:  A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g. over the moon, see the light).

Imagery:  Visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work.

Inference:  A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

Isn't it ironic?

Isn't it ironic?

Irony:  The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Kenning:  A compound expression in Old English and Old Norse poetry with metaphorical meaning, e.g. oar-steed = ship.

Metaphor:  A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Metonymy:  A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Moral:  A lesson that can be derived from a story or experience.

Motive:  A reason for doing something.

Narrative Poetry:  Poetry that tells a story.

Narrator:  A person who narrates something, especially a character who recounts the events of a novel or narrative poem.

Non-fiction:  Prose writing that is informative or factual rather than fictional.

Novel:  A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

Ode:  A lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular meter.

Onomatopoeia:  in action in many comics

Onomatopoeia:  in action in many comics

Onomatopoeia:  the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoosizzle ).

Oxymoron:  A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).

Personification:  The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.

Plot:  The main events of a play, novel, film, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.

Poetry:  Literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.

Point of view:   (in fictional writing) the narrator's position in relation to a story being told.

Predictions:  A thing predicted; a forecast.

Rhyme:   A short poem in which the sound of the word or syllable at the end of each line corresponds with that at the end of another.

Rhythm:  The measured flow of words and phrases in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.

Science Fiction:  Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.

Sequence:  A particular order in which related things follow each other.

Setting:  The place or type of surroundings where something is positioned or where an event takes place.

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Simile:  A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g. as brave as a lion).

Solution:  A means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.

Stanza:  A group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem; a verse.

Theme:  An idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature.

Voice:  The distinctive tone or style of a literary work or author.

Never collect reading diaries again

digital_reading_log

I have to share with you one of the best teaching resources we have encountered in a very long time.  It will save you and your students a world of frustration and time when it comes to collecting data and evidence about reading at home.  

"Never collect a reading diary or log again" is the promise associated with the Digital Reading Log and I can totally verify that this to be true.  It also  offers so much more potential for you as an assessment tool than chasing reading diaries on a regular basis.  I will never go back..

It took me about 15 minutes to set this up for my class for the year and now I just log into my computer for a detailed analysis of my students reading habits... That's it I'm sorted for the year...

I get crucial information about aspects of reading that challenged my students and data I can use to guide future English lessons and my data collection for reports on reading is all here in one place waiting for me.

Check out the link and the video for yourself.  It cost me the same as a couple of cups of coffee but I would pay double in a heartbeat to have done this earlier in my career.  

Check it out here for yourelf, and if you have used this or something similar we'd love to hear about it. 

Free Adobe Spark Video Planning Template

 

Getting younger students to record their ideas in a logical and engaging manner can be tough.

If you have reluctant writers in your classroom, you will appreciate how difficult it can be to get work from them demonstrating a clear understanding of what you have been teaching them.

Finding alternatives to written work is not always easy to come across especially if there are deeper issues than the student simply being a reluctant writer such as a diagnosed learning condition.

To counteract this issue I find Adobe Spark Video to be an incredibly easy to use on all devices.  It is a powerful tool which as the name suggests relies mainly on visuals and images to share knowledge as opposed to writing down line after line of text.

The other great thing about Adobe Spark Video is the polish it adds to presentations that make them far more engaging than your traditional PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.

Simply giving students Adobe Spark Video and directions around a specific topic can sometimes leave them confused and seeking further clarification.


To remedy this I have created a free template which you can download here that will ensure your students stay on task and have a clear direction about what they are supposed to be doing.  Best of all the template can be adapted to any age group or topic area

Free Facebook Profile Character Cube Download

You kids will love creating their own Facebook Character Cubes with our completely free and simple to use template.

This versatile mock Facebook cube can be applied to any number of activites such as a character profile from books, films, games etc, quick biography task, all about me or plenty of other alternatives.

It contains the 6 elements of Facebook most relevant to students.
- Photo
- About
- Status Updates
- Friends
- Timeline
- Share a memory

It is completely editable and can be undertaken as a simple pen and paper task or an editable PowerPoint and Google Drive (Slides) task for students who have access to a technology.

Simply follow the instructions and away you go... NO PREP REQUIRED!!

Download it here completely free today!!

Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer Freebie

Argumentative writing may sound like a new concept or approach, but it is not.  This term basically means to argue one’s opinion while understanding that there is an opposing side. 

Brought to the forefront with the adoption of the new ELA Common Core Standards, middle and high school students alike need practice in developing argumentative writing.  This allows them to increase their comfort level in choosing a side on a controversial issue and developing their opinion using persuasive language and techniques.  From there, writers should be able to think about the arguments or counterclaims that the opposing side would make in response.  Not only should the author seek to provide these counterclaims, but to add support that dismisses the opposition’s argument.  

The argumentative graphic organizer is a strategic teaching tool that better equips students to develop this type of writing.  This graphic organizer is designed to anticipate the needs of the readers, as well as have the author utilize a variety of detail types to develop their opinion with more than just fluffy, eloquent language.  

To download this resource for free click here and to view over 100 of our resources click here

Tips for Managing Guided Reading with Large Class Sizes

This list was compiled by Christine Fankell, Elementary Literacy Facilitator, Livonia Public Schools, MI

Create a guided reading group meeting schedule. Vary the frequency that you plan to meet with each group. Meet more frequently with struggling readers and less frequently with proficient readers.

  • Use a timer to keep your guided reading lessons to 20 minutes. In Next Step Guided Reading, Jan Richardson makes suggestions for the length of each part of the lesson. You can also time the individual parts of the lesson to get a feel for the recommended pace of the guided reading lesson.
  • Work with short texts. The text that you use should be something that can be read in one or two guided reading lessons.
  • Have all the materials you will need for the guided reading lesson organized and ready so that you don’t need to search for things once the lesson is underway. There are suggestions for organizing materials on Jan Richardson’s website as well as in Spaces and Places (Diller).
  • Consider what you can prep ahead of time to save precious minutes during the lesson. For example, you might consider tabbing the student text to mark spots where the students should stop and write about their thinking.
  • With a larger class, you may also have to increase the size of your guided reading groups. Ideally you would want your groups to consist of no more than 6 students. With larger class sizes this maximum may have to be increased to 8 for students reading on and above grade level. Keep your below level groups at six or less.
  • Try to limit the total number of guided reading groups to no more than five. Remember that you can form groups of students that are reading a few levels apart. For example you might have an M/N guided reading group that has a common instructional need. For upper grades, you might work with students who are reading at levels S, T, and U because they all need to work on summarizing.
  • Where it makes sense to do so, thread the teaching point from your reading workshop mini lesson into your guided reading work. This will give you the opportunity to provide additional scaffolded support for students who need it.

Dear Santa Letter Template Freebie

With the festive season almost upon us you might be considering doing some letters to Santa as part of your Christmas writing sessions.

This easy to use template is completely free to download looks great and will definitely inspire young writers to put in plenty of great ideas and effort.

Click here to download this free Dear Santa writing template, and stay tuned to literacy ideas for plenty of other great freebies, resources and templates.

Snapshot Writing Tool Freebie

Snapshot Writing is a great way to get students to write about an exact moment in time.  It is an opportunity to laser focus on how our senses and emotions react to the world and events around us.  

Using this tool students simply write what they see, hear, feel, smell, see and taste. This is a great task to aid students to create imagery within their writing.

It is always written from a first person perspective and will force your students to think outside the box when describing any event or action in future.

We are giving you this free great planning tool which makes Snapshot Writing accessible to anyone.  Download it here. 

Snapshot writing is greatly enhanced when used alongside a visual prompt such as a photo or video. 

It will enhance any writing session and give a great deal of confidence to reluctant writers.

If you are looking for a collection of amazing visual writing prompts and an editable version of the snapshot writing tool which can be found here. 
 

40 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Teaching ideas Freebie

This week we are giving away a freebie to one of the most loved children's books of all time.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

This matrix offers over 40 activities for students based on Bloom's Taxonomy and Gardiner's multiple intelligence's for Roald Dahl's timeless Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It is a must have for students and teachers looking for new and innovative ways to teach this great story with you Over 40 great Wonka Activities

Click here to download the freebie and if you really want to go all in Charlie and teach a complete unit on it I can strongly recommend this 57 page book full of great ideas about Willy Wonka and his amazing chocolate factory.

Explanation Writing Checklist Freebie

Help your students to independently edit and proofread their own explanation writing pieces or explanatory essays with these engaging checklists and rubric. 

There are three age variations in the bundle for Junior (Ages 5 - 7), Middle (7 - 11) and Senior (11 - 15). Each bundle contains both a student checklist for independent assessment and a student / teacher rubric for conferencing. Check the preview for a visual example. 

Click here to download the freebie

The version you are looking at is the free PDF version. If you are looking for an editable version you can find it here

Editable Writing Checklists

These editable checklists are specifically for narratives and explanation writing at the moment. However we will are currently creating more for other writing genres in the coming weeks which will be added.

Each age group has been stylised and written to appeal to different age groups.

With six to a page you can easily print these out and distribute to students an re use them over and over. 

Best of all they are completely editable if you wish to change any element of it.

Give your students the tools they need for great writing.

Free Fable Planning Tool

Fables are an excellent genre of writing that has served a purpose in literacy and society for thousands of years. 

Fables were originally created as short stories intended to teach children a message or moral through great story telling.  Almost everyone is aware of the story of "The boy who cried wolf" and any child can make the connection from the story that consistent lying will cause you grave harm.

Aesop is the undisputed master of the Fable and he created hundreds of them using animals as key characters to portray certain human traits.

The reason a fox is referred to as cunning or the lamb as a perpetual innocent victim comes from Aesop's fables.

This tool assists students to create engaging fables based upon the model we have been using for generations.  It is best printed in a larger format so as your students can visually represent their ideas alongside written ones and is completely free and available here.

The fable planning tool is part of a massive 90 page unit of work around fables.  It has been incredibly popular (read the reviews.) and is available as a premium product here.

Spelling Activity Matrix: 42 Ideas for your weekly spelling words

This evergreen resource will come in handy for fresh ideas for students to use their spelling words more effectively and creatively.

It has been downloaded over 8,000 times and is one of our most popular resources.

The matrix is built on Blooms Taxonomy and addresses all areas in simple to understand language for students of all ages.

Best of all it's completely Free!!!   Click here to download.

 

Free Emoji Writing Prompts

This freebie Contains 24 different Emoji used as writing prompts to spark some excellent story / creative writing in you classroom.

Just simply print out the emoji included and present them to you students. 

Each strip includes a Written Prompt and Emoji Prompts based on characters, setting and plot.

You can alter this task in a multitude of ways as you see fit.  Enjoy

Click here to download this Free Resource

Say hello to our free narrative writing checklists

Teach your students to independently check their own narrative / story writing with these beautiful checklists and rubrics. 

There are three age variations in the bundle for Junior (Ages 5 - 7), Middle (7 - 11) and Senior (11 - 15). Each bundle contains both a student checklist for independent assessment and a student / teacher rubric for conferencing. Check the preview for a visual example. 

Each age group has been stylised and written to appeal to different age groups.

With six to a page you can easily print these out and distribute to students an re use them over and over. 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE NARRATIVE CHECKLISTS HERE

The version you are looking at is the free PDF version. If you are looking for the premium editable version you can find it at

EDITABLE NARRATIVE CHECKLIST AND RUBRICS

Give your students the tools they need for writing great stories.