An analogy is a way of thinking about how pairs of words are related. It’s a special kind of word puzzle that lets a student have fun and exercises their brain at the same time! If you need a language arts activity to help keep your students on their toes, teach them how to create analogy puzzles! They can be done at any time, and kids seem to always enjoy the challenge.
Usually, an analogy exercise will be a set of three words and a blank line, which the student must fill in with the correct word. The : symbol in the analogy means “is to,” and the :: symbol stands for “as.” When the analogy is read out loud, students should be taught to read these symbols as if they were words. For instance, the following analogy should be read like this:
boat: goat:: fan: man
“Boat is to goat as fan is to man.”
Analogies are a form of logic or step-by-step thinking to solve problems. The most important thing you have to do is to make sure students understand the “thinking process” involved in the analogy. You can teach them to solve the puzzle just by following these steps:
Step 1: Decide how the first two words in the analogy are related.
Step 2: Think how the other pair of words relate in the same way.
Step 3: Choose a word that makes both pairs relate that way.
Let’s try it! Look at the first set of words in the example again. How are boat and goat related? They rhyme! Now, look at the word fan. Can you think of a word that rhymes with fan? We could use the word man. Man rhymes with fan, so man would be a good choice to fill in the blank. That’s how we solve the puzzle and come up with the analogy: “Boat is to goat as fan is to man.”
Shurley English teaches a list of analogies called “The Big 10.” The list shows different ways words can be related, and it’s very helpful as students learn to discover word relationships, using analogies. Post this list in your classroom for quick reference:
Rain : train :: cup : pup
This is the proper reading of this rhyming analogy:
Rain is to train as cup is to pup.
stripe : zebra :: spot : leopard
This is the proper reading of characteristic analogy:
Stripe is to zebra as spot is to leopard.
Read analogies often with your students, and go through the “thinking process” with them. Then, have students complete brain puzzles. Try implementing analogy activities like the one below as often as you can to help your students exercise their brains and have fun at the same time!
BONUS ACTIVITY: Analogy Puzzles