Ch 4: Literary Devices: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4

About This Chapter

Develop your students' ability to deconstruct literary devices to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning and author's intent in literature with these engaging videos. Suggestions for teaching these 7th grade Common Core literary standards are also provided.

Standard: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.4)

About This Chapter

With mastery of the skills in these lessons, your students shouldbe able to identify and describe the literary devices they encounter in their reading. They will be able to discuss how each device magnified the author's intent and supported the development of plot and theme. The devices described in these videos include:

  • Context, word choice, and word structure
  • Connotation and denotation
  • Allusion and illusion
  • Metaphor, simile and alliteration
  • Consonance, assonance, and repetition
  • Cliché, paradox, and equivocation
  • Tone and mood

As students develop a deeper understanding of these devices, their ability to recognize them in use and analyze their purpose should increase, letting them quickly and accurately decode complex passages. They can gain an understanding of the text beyond just the words, grasping the particular nuances of particular choices in words, phrases, and metaphors.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Integrate these video lessons into your classroom instruction with these activity ideas.

What's in a word?

Show the videos on connotation and denotation and impact of word choice as a class. Then present a series of passages from literature being studied in class. Remove a key word and provide that word along with two or three other synonymous words as options to fill in the blank. Break students into small groups to discuss which word should be used in each passage and why. Discuss the choices as a class, having each group present one of their selections and the associated commentary. Did they arrive upon the same word choice as the author originally used?

What does that word mean?

In a slight twist on the above exercise, have students determine the meaning of certain difficult words in literary passages. First watch the video on constructing meaning as a class, then provide your students with a handout with several passages containing a difficult word set in bold type or underlined. Have them decode the meaning of the word individually or in small groups. Complicate the task by using a few passages from older works which contain words the students may generally know but whose meaning has changed over time.

Exploring allusion

Watch the video on allusion and illusion with your class. Then give students a homework sheet containing several passages from literature which make allusions which are not likely to be familiar to the students because they have passed somewhat from modern cultural consciousness. Students can research the topics being alluded to using the Internet and other resources available to them and explain the allusion as well as why they think the author included it.

11 Lessons in Chapter 4: Literary Devices: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

1. Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

In this lesson, you will learn how readers use prior knowledge, context clues and word structure to aid their understanding of what they read. Explore these strategies through examples from literature and everyday life.

How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

2. How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

With diligence and intrepid ingenuity, you can use context to ascertain the purport of a word. In other words, in this lesson, we'll find out how to use context to figure out what words mean.

What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples

3. What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples

Discover the difference between a word's denotation and its connotation in this lesson. Explore how authors use both denotation and connotation to add layers of meaning to their work with some literary examples.

Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

4. Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

Allusions and illusions have little in common besides the fact that they sound similar. Learn the difference between the two and how allusions are an important part of literature and writing - and how to spot them in text.

Alliteration: Definition & Examples

5. Alliteration: Definition & Examples

Alliteration is a figure of speech used to create rhythm and bring focus to a line or sentence in a piece of written material. Learn about the definition of alliteration, see examples of alliteration and test your knowledge with a quiz.

What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

6. What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

Metaphors are all around you. They're the bright sparkling lights that turn plain evergreens into Christmas trees. Learn how to spot them, why writers write with them, and how to use them yourself right here.

Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

7. Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

Explore the simile and how, through comparison, it is used as a shorthand to say many things at once. Learn the difference between similes and metaphors, along with many examples of both.

Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples

8. Consonance, Assonance, and Repetition: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson, explore the different ways authors repeat consonant and vowel sounds in their literary works. Learn about how writers use repeated words and phrases with well-known examples.

Impact of Word Choice on Meaning and Tone

9. Impact of Word Choice on Meaning and Tone

In this lesson, you'll learn how authors can influence the meaning and the emotional effect of a sentence just by choosing the right words or by making references and comparisons. You'll learn the appropriate literary terms along with examples for each.

Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

10. Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

In this lesson, we will define the literary terms tone and mood. We will then discuss how to identify each of them, as well as how to identify them in small reading passages.

Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

11. Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

Learn about cliches, paradoxes, and equivocations, and how they can weaken or strengthen certain types of writing. Explore examples of all three from literature and daily life.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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