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ERIC Number: ED352676
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Poetry and the Teaching of Figurative Language Skills.
Bush, Harold K., Jr.
Many teachers note the importance of student ability to analyze and understand intricate uses of figurative language in reading. Research in recent years has focused on the prevalence of figures of speech in textbooks and other reading, suggesting that the fostering of figurative language skills should become a more common feature of language instruction. These studies suggest that the increased focus on developing figurative language skills will generate stronger metaphoric abilities among readers. Unfortunately, such an emphasis is largely ignored, perhaps due to the utilitarian biases of educators. However, to present and develop figurative language ability, utilizing poetry may be the best tool teachers have at their disposal. Testimonies of individual teachers bear out this conclusion in the face of a general lack of clinical studies on the topic. Poetry can be used in various ways to enhance vocabulary development, to encourage more creative and fresh phrasing in student compositions, to generate expressive language through such methods as "clustering," as well as to motivate adult learners who are basic readers. As students elevate their figurative language abilities, the level of poetry used can also be easily raised, from relatively simple and straightforward poems to poems employing very difficult metaphoric constructs (two examples of the former type, by Carl Sandburg and Langston Hughes, and one example of the latter type, by Wallace Stevens, are provided in an appendix). Thus, poetry may be the ideal arena for fostering figurative language skills at virtually any reading level. (Eighteen references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A