Identifying & Writing Similes for Middle School Students

By Kellie Hayden

Students may unknowingly use similes in their everyday life. Teach them how to identify a simile, and assign students to write their own.

Making Similes

For many students, writing poetry is not a favorite activity. One poetry technique that can be fun is to write similes. Students use similes almost every day; however, many do not know that they were using the literary device. Follow these simile lesson plans:

Items needed: Paper to make handouts and to illustrate similes, markers and colored pencils

Step 1 -- Begin the lesson by writing several clichéd or well-known similes on the board and ask what type of literary device they are.

Sample similes to write on the board:

  • The bread was as thin as paper.
  • She was as pretty as a picture.
  • She was as blind as a bat.
  • He was as white as a ghost.
  • He was as big as a wale.

Step 2 -- Discuss what the similes mean with students. Go over the definition of a simile and then ask students if they know any.

Definition of a simile- a comparison of two unlike things using like or as.

Step 3 -- Ask students to complete a handout to see if they can identify the similes.

Example items for a handout on similes.

  1. Linda ate a mountain of ice cream.
  2. Bobbie made 100 spitballs and had to throw them all in the trashcan.
  3. The headlights were as blinding as the sun.
  4. Ginger worked a million hours in her room on Saturday morning.
  5. The hanging beach towel flapped in the wind like waves on the ocean.
  6. Brent's neck was as long as a giraffe's.
  7. Sarah's silky skirt swayed in the breeze.
  8. Hank's hands were rough like sandpaper.
  9. Martha sewed miles of fabric to make the dress.
  10. John's hands were like a giant trap waiting for the ball.

Step 4 -- Ask students to select an item and write a simile about it. Then, they must illustrate it.

For example, a simile that a student could write is Cindy's eyes were like blue crystals. Then, the student could draw blue crystals inside of eye shapes on a face. The paper should be labeled that it is a simile and the simile should be written neatly.

It is best if the teacher makes an example simile illustration to show as a model. Assess the simile illustrations on the criteria of creativity, neatness, and use of color.

Have students share their simile and display the best similes on the classroom walls. After completing this simile lesson, middle school students should be able to identify similes in poetry and in prose.