During Reading Strategy: Analogies

Description: An analogy is an extended comparison between two subjects. It is often used to help explain unfamiliar concepts, theories, and words by comparing them to more familiar ones. For example, the parts of a cell and their functions can be compared to the parts of a factory.

Purpose: With this instructional strategy, students break a concept into characteristics that are similar to those of another concept. This process enables students to understand complex concepts, theories and words by analyzing them in a more simple way or by comparing new knowledge to prior knowledge. Analogies help readers get at the meaning of a passage. When students create their own analogies for new concepts, the analogy can provide a way to assess their understanding of the new concepts. Analogies have proven to be effective learning tools for reinforcing thinking skills and conceptual understanding. (Alverman & Phelps, 1998).

Students will develop an analogy for cells. They will work in pairs to create a booklet that defines the cell and organelles. Each page will define a cell structure and function along with a drawing or pictures of the structure. The adjacent page will use an analogy of the cell structure describing how they are similar along with a drawing or picture. An analogy of the mitochondria might be the powerhouse of a factory. Students will have to try and come up with their own cell analogies. Some examples include the cell: as a city, factory, school, band, human body etc. As a teacher, I would make a lot of analogies to help students understand. When students are able to make their own analogies, it is more effective and using higher level thinking processes.