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Lesson Plan by Mitchell Zuvela B. Sc., B. Ed.

Understanding Literary Devices

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings literary terminology to life with comics and storyboards.

Make literary terminology come to life with comics!

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Understanding Literary Devices

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  • Anger
  • Book
  • Broom
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Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

Understanding Literary Devices

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Open the class by reading the statements listed below. Each statement illustrates a literary device that they will learn more about in this lesson.

  • Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore. (alliteration)
  • I am so hungry I could eat a horse. (hyperbole)
  • He was like a bull in a china shop. (simile)
  • The wind screamed through the house. (personification)

Ask the class if anyone has heard these literary statements before. Go back to each statement so that your students can come up with their own example of the literary device.

Opening Discussion

Below is a list of 22 common literary devices that are important to understand. Make a table on the board with three columns for the term, definition, and example. Go through each term with your class, writing the definition and coming up with a class example that fits the device.


  • A literary device that is used to convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, and imagery.


  • The repetition of the same starting sound in a sequence of words.


  • The repetition of vowel sounds in a phrase or sentence.


  • A phrase that is used so commonly that it has little effect.


  • The use of informal words or phrases in writing.


  • The repetition of consonant sounds in a sentence or phrase.


  • A literary device that uses a less negative or abrasive word instead of the original.


  • The author provides the reader with hints or clues as to what will happen in the future.


  • Two or more words that sound the same or are similar, but have different spellings and meanings.


  • Highly exaggerated statements that create emphasis, but are not necessarily true.


  • A common phrase in which the figurative meaning is different than the literal meaning.


  • The contrast or discrepancy between what happens, and what is expected (verbal, dramatic, and situational).


  • The deliberate placing together of two or more thoughts that emphasize each other through their placement.


  • A literary device in which direct comparisons are made between two unlike objects.


  • A literary technique in which the narrator is all knowing and seeing.


  • The use of words that imitate sounds.


  • The use of two contradictory words together.


  • A literary device that gives human attributes / characteristic to an object or animal (non-human).


  • A play on words that relies on the word having more than one meaning.


  • The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. The intended meaning is different than its literal meaning.


  • A literary device in which a direct comparison is made using “like” or “as."


  • The use of casual language in everyday speech in writing.
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Comic
    Depicting Literary Terms

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Challenge (Extension / Modification)

    Create a 3-4 panel Comic Strip that illustrates the use of a soliloquy in a play or novel.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Print out the Storyboards that your class created that illustrate various literary terms. Share these with your class by rotating them around the room so that they can be critiqued by each student. Using the teacher interface on Pixton, you can also publish these assignments for the class to view online. Ask each student to share which examples they liked the best.

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Understanding Literary Devices 1 Depicting Literary Terms


Choose 12 of the 22 literary terms discussed in class to create a Storyboard or Photo Story that illustrates the definition of each term (one panel per term).

Each example must be different than what was provided during your class discussion.

Each panel should include:

  • A title
  • An appropriate illustration
  • The definition of the literary term

The layout should be in classic view so that the panels follow a 3x4 format..

Rubric: Depicting Literary Terms

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The symbolism is highly developed; examples have significant purpose and engage the reader. The symbolism is well developed; examples are specific and provide sufficient support. The symbolism is briefly discussed; examples are accurate but not fully explained. The symbolism is briefly discussed; vague or irrelevant examples. The symbolism is not identified; lacks any supporting examples.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (supporting examples identified) • proper organization
• examples are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• examples are not/improperly referenced
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• examples are not referenced
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics

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