Analogies for Vocabulary Development

by Jimmie Lanley on December 15, 2010

Analogies are wonderful exercises.  They teach

  • vocabulary
  • logical thinking
  • critical thinking
  • creativity

Let me say that in an analogy:

analogies : brain :: sit-ups : abs

(And from a practical standpoint, analogies are frequently used on standardized tests.)

vocab workbooks vertical fat

Vocabulary Workbooks We Use

We have finished using Analogy Roundup for vocabulary practice this term. It’s a great workbook that takes you through the various relationships that are commonly used in analogies. There are plenty of practice analogies and lots of review of the relationships.

As a culminating activity, I asked Sprite to create four of her own analogies. Wow, was I impressed with what she did!

Analogy Resources

  1. Prufrock Press has several workbooks (retail) that deal with analogies.
  2. Vocabulary Building with Analogies is a more in-depth article about using analogies as part of your curriculum.
  3. Introduction to analogies (PDF)  is especially good for teaching younger students the thinking process for solving analogies
  4. Understanding Analogies (PDF)is written on a higher level, suitable for middle schoolers.

Free Analogies Worksheets

  1. Seven Simple Analogies
  2. Scholastic Scope Analogies worksheet
  3. Analogies Sampler K-12
  4. Super Teacher Analogy Worksheets

And a beautiful thing about analogies is that they can be used for any subject. For a serious mind workout, have your child create analogies with new content area vocabulary. This can serve as the narration activity for the day. For example, after a chemistry lesson have your children make a few analogies with the vocabulary words from the science lesson. This will work for math or history or any academic area at all.

Have you used analogies with your children? What resources did you use?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn December 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I always enjoy your reviews. I will store this info away for when my kids are ready. Thanks as always for sharing your insight.


Chartwell Academy December 16, 2010 at 12:50 am

For more analogy and similar logic puzzles do look at the resources offered by Critical Thinking Company. They have both workbooks and computer based exercises available.


Aimee December 16, 2010 at 10:39 am

We’re enjoying analogies this year as well, inspired by our grammar work, called the Arrow, through Bravewriter. Now we notice analogies in our reading all the time, I use them more in my own writing, and the girls have made up some whoppers. One friday, when I had to leave school work for them as I went to check on my Dad, I told them to do a 10 minute freewrite and try to include one analogy. For the first time in all our years of schooling, I offered them a piece of chocolate if did the assignment just right. When I got back home they had each included not 1, but two, analogies in their short writing pieces. Ahh, the power of chocolate to produce good writing. All of these resources are great, Jimmie, we’ll be dipping into some of them after the New Year.


alecat December 16, 2010 at 11:23 am

Thanks for the info! The resources you’ve listed look great. 🙂


drue December 16, 2010 at 10:26 pm

It’s funny you brought up this topic today because recently my husband made a false analogy in reference to something he wanted the kids to do and I said, “You are totally going to mess them up when it comes to SATs.” So maybe I need to play around with these tools a bit and undo what my “helper” has contributed.


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