A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things using the words like or as. The comparison shows a resemblance between unlike objects, ideas or things. For example, when a student exclaims she is as fast as a cheetah, she is comparing her speed to that of the fierce feline.

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As with most types of figurative language, students encounter similes in their daily speech as well as in literature. In spite of their frequency, similes may not be as easy as the ABCs for students to understand. In order to understand and analyze a simile, students need to search for keywords, identify the objects being compared, and understand the correlation between the two objects. Thus, teachers’ lesson plans for similes should include explicit instruction, contextual exposure and repeated practice to ensure all students can effectively explain the meaning of a simile.

Teaching Similes

K-12 teachers may need additional resources to enhance their simile lesson plans as well other figures of speech. VocabularySpellingCity provides elementary, middle, and high school teachers with simile word lists, interactive learning games, and free printable worksheets to build knowledge of figurative language concepts.

According to the ELA Common Core Standards, similes are introduced to students in the second grade. Students are later assessed on similes in Grade 3. Students learn that similes are a type of figurative language and begin to identify similes in texts by looking for the clue words like (they fought like cats and dogs) and as (the house is as clean as a whistle).

As students enter the upper grades, they will need to interpret similes in context. Students in grades 4-12 may use VocabularySpellingCity’s Paragraph Writing Practice to analyze and explain the simile studied. Moreover, students may use Paragraph Writing Practice or Sentence Writing Practice to use similes in their own writing.

Learn about more types of figurative language: hyperbole, idioms, metaphors and personification.

View Common Core State Standards Related to SimilesClose

Common Core State Standards Related to Similes

Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.

Similes – Elementary School Examples
  • The boy is as sharp as a tack.
  • As soon as he got into bed, he went out like a light.
  • My mom is always as busy as a bee.
  • Despite the upcoming test, she is as cool as a cucumber.
  • My grandfather is as wise as an owl.

 K-5 Similes Practice Worksheet (Sentence Unscramble)

Similes – Middle School Examples
  • The teenager is as hungry as a wolf.
  • This part of Florida is as flat as a pancake.
  • Rumors often spread like wildfire.
  • She tiptoed upstairs, quiet as a mouse.
  • After his bath, he was as clean as a whistle.

 6-8 Similes Practice Worksheet (WhichWord? Sentences)

Similes – High School Examples
  • The directions for this assignment are as clear as mud.
  • This bed is so comfortable that I sleep like a baby.
  • The new dad is as proud as a peacock.
  • he empty box is as light as a feather.
  • The twins are like two peas in a pod.

 9-12 Similes Practice Worksheet (MatchIt Sentences) provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to interpret, explain, and demonstrate understanding of similes.

Try Sentence Unscramble with the Elementary School Similes list.