Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.


  • meaning
  • words
  • phrases
  • text

  • literal
  • nonliteral
  • figurative language
  • metaphor

  • simile
  • personification
  • hyperbole
  • idiom

what's this
  • Being able to describe the meaning of words and phrases supports the ability of more mature readers to make meaning of a wide range of authentic text and literature at increasingly higher levels of complexity.
  • Being able to determine the meaning of words and phrases provides relevancy, taps into background knowledge, and helps all learners interact with, and make meaning of, text.
  • Understanding the origins and meanings of figurative language helps students understand how meaning and interpretation of language changes over time and can be connected to historical events.
  • Distinguishing between literal and nonliteral language supports the reader’s ability to analyze the author’s choice of words and purpose for writing, and to utilize the same skills in their own writing.

  • In what ways does the ability to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text help readers comprehend and analyze that text?
  • What evidence-based strategies can be used to help children distinguish literal from nonliteral language and strengthen comprehension?
  • What roles do oral language and background knowledge have in supporting the reading and understanding of text?


Go to RL.2.4 to see skills mastered prior to this.