Teaching Idioms: More Bang for Your Buck

Teaching Idioms

That’s the way the cookie crumbles!… I put my foot in my mouth… When pigs fly… You are what you eat! … Idioms have varied and sometimes unknown origins; however, due to the punch they deliver when we use them, they cleverly pepper our language to this day.  Why? Because we understand and find humor in figurative language! Idiomatic expressions help us to make a point in a more impactful way.

 “By teaching idioms during speech therapy sessions, we open the door to improved social skills, literacy, and academic knowledge for our students.”

Teaching Idioms

Here’s a research snapshot on teaching idioms:

“… the frequency in which teachers used idioms in the classroom began at 4.65% in kindergarten and increased to 20.3% by 8th grade.” (Lazar, et al., 1989)

“…for third through eighth grade texts, the mean number of sentences containing at least one idiom was 6.72%, ranging from 6% in third grade to 9.7% by eighth grade.” (Nippold, 1990)

So the light bulb went off in my head! I need to teach idioms.

Teaching Idioms

Let’s get down to business. How do we teach our students idioms? Check out these resources to help you out!


All In ONE Place! Idioms GALORE!

-Idiom Picture Books

-Idiom Picture Meanings

-Idiom Websites

-Idiom Worksheets

-Idiom Games

Idiom Education Information

-Categorizes idioms based on level of difficulty.

-Practice worksheets

-Idiom matching cards

-Idiom comprehension strips

-Idiom activities

Multiple Resources for Idioms  

-Idiom activities

-Idiom coloring book

-Reading book with Idiom Questions

-Reading book with Figurative Language Questions

Multiple Resources for Idioms 2

-Idiom activities

-Idiom books

-Idiom examples with pictures

SPANISH Idioms Websites

List of Spanish Idioms and English equivalents

List of Spanish Idioms (Valer la pena/ to be worth the trouble, effort)

WORKSHEETS for Idioms:

Classroom Activities for Idioms  

-Free sample worksheets of idioms categorized (e.g. food idioms).

Practice Worksheets

-Fill in the blank worksheets.

Scholastic Worksheets

-Printable worksheets. Multiple choice, etc.

BOOKS to Teach Idioms:

The Best Children’s Books – Teaching Idioms

-Explains why each book is chosen

-Provides link for purchasing

-Gives star rating

Pulling Leg

Teaching Idioms

Idiom Book List

-click on book to read reviews and personal summaries for each one


APPS for Idioms:

Here is a great search engine to look for apps that focus on idioms:  Search Engine for Idioms Apps.  Otherwise, here are a couple of Apps with Idioms in mind:


Teaching Idioms


The app uses an interactive notebook to present an idiom, it’s meaning and an example showing the idiom used in context. Each page of the notebook also has a graphic to help illustrate the idiom’s meaning.


Teaching Idioms


Idioms app works as dictionary as well as a multiple choice quiz system which provides 700 common idiomatic questions across different topic & categories with explanations.


Lazar, R. T., Warr-Leeper, G. A., Nicholson, C. B., & Johnson, S. (1989). Elementary school teachers’ use of multiple meaning expressions. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 20, 420-430.
Nippold, M.A. (1990). Idioms in Textbooks for kindergarten through eighth grade students. Unpublished manuscript.

Written by: phuonglienpalafox

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