Lesson 5: Figurative Language and Voice

Getting Started

Today you will read poems about the Southwest region of the United States. Most people think of the desert when they think about this region. The poems in this section paint beautiful pictures of the Southwest. You will also analyze two more figurative language tools often used by poets: metaphor and personification.

Stuff You Need

  • My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet by Judy Young

Ideas to Think About

  • How do figurative language techniques make poetry more effective and engaging?
  • How do poets influence the emotions and thoughts of the reader?

Things to Know

  • First person writing uses the word "I," second person uses "you," and third person uses "he" or "she."
  • Personification is a tool used by writers to give inanimate objects or ideas human traits.


  • Identify examples of figurative language found in text. (LA)
  • Select a writing focus, organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, and format requirements. (LA)
  • Use concrete sensory details in writing. (LA)
  • Define figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification) and identify its use in literary works. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Ask your child to give you an example of a metaphor. Tell him that today he will explore more figurative language tools used by poets. Ask your child what he has enjoyed most learning about poetry. Explain that today he will continue reading poems about the geography of the United States. Today's poems reflect the culture and geography of the Southwest. Ask him what he knows about this region of the country.
Reading and Questions
Materials: My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Read the poems in the section, "The Southwest States," in My America, and then answer the questions below.
  1. What was your favorite poem in this section and why?
    Answers will vary.
  2. Which poem created the most vivid image in your mind? What words from the poem made the image so vivid?
    Answers will vary.
  3. What did you learn about the culture and the geography of the Southwest?
    Answers will vary.
  4. Many of the poems in this section mention plants and animals found in the Southwest. Write down the names of the plants and animals found in the poems.
    Hawk, cactus, coyote, ants, rabbit, tortoise, birds, buffalo, horse