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  • Annemarie Johnson


Updated: Feb 26

Writing Trait/Strategy: Word choice; personification; poetry tools

Mentor Text Suggestions: Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller

Dirty Laundry Pile by Paul Janeczko (ed.)

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

The Scarecrow and His Servant by Philip Pullman

The Goldfish Yawned by Elizabeth Sayles

School Supplies: A Book of Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton

Description: Personification is a comparison in which something that is not human is described with human qualities. This tool is used especially by poets, but authors of other texts as well, to create mind pictures for the reader. Introduce this literary craft to students by pointing out examples in mentor texts such as those listed above.


Have students go on a “personification walk.” Have them make a list of things they notice (trees, clouds, rocks, grass, wind, etc.) Ask them to choose one and make a list of ways their subject seems human or animal-like. Example: Trees = Giant hands reaching toward the sky. (Heard, 1999).

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