Try this little known, super simple trick to solving word analogies. You can teach it to your students in minutes. A graphic organizer to guide them is included.


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Let’s talk about teaching how to solve word analogies to elementary and middle school students.

Be warned. Your students are going to love this.

Word analogies can be considered language development or vocabulary development. Some teachers like to teach them along with figurative language. 

Like idioms, word analogies can be difficult for young students to decipher. I have a super simple system with a graphic organizer that will get your students not only understanding, but also loving word analogies. Read on to learn more!


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Word Analogies Are Relationships

Like so many other things in life, word analogies are based on relationships. It’s essential to introduce your students to finding the relationship between two words. This is the starting point for learning how to solve an analogy.

That is to say, if I mention these two words:

Pencil : write

Ask students what the relationship is between the words. Hopefully, they’ll tell you that we use a pencil to write. 

Next, introduce one word of the second part of the analogy. For example:


Students should use the previous relationship to solve the analogy. They can write it again substituting the word crayon for pencil.

We use a crayon to _______. 

Using this relationship pattern, your students will understand how analogies work, and how to solve them. They’ll immediately see that the second part of the analogy is color.

That, my friend is the secret and simple trick to solving word analogies.

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Teach How to Read an Analogy

The next step is to teach students how to read the analogy statements. Reading the first part out loud helps them to think about it.

Pencil : write becomes “pencil is to write”.

Therefore, if you were to present this to the class,

Pencil : write :: crayon : color, your students would read it this way:

“Pencil is to write as crayon is to color.” 

For the teacher, this concept seems simple. However, for a young student, it can take a bit of practice.

Graphic Organizer Word Analogy Solver 

I designed a simple graphic organizer to help students look for the relationships and create a connection with the relationship in the second part of the analogy. You can grab your copy here. It’s a free download from my Member Vault. It includes twenty basic beginner analogies, too.

One way to use it is to put it into a plastic sleeve protector, or laminate it. Students can write the words and the relationship on it with a dry erase marker. Then they can write about the new relationship in the second part. That gives them a good visual aid to finding the second word in the analogy.

This system works so well that my students used to ask me for more analogies to solve. They loved the challenge. 

I hope this lesson tip helps you introduce word analogies to your students.


Image of a worksheet to assist in solving word analogies.
Get this worksheet from the Members Vault on this website.

Fun Ways to Practice Word Analogies

Here are some ideas for ways you can make it even more fun.

Using these activities will give you immediate feedback about how well your students understand the concept of word analogies. 

Have fun, friend. Don’t forget to grab your free Analogy Solver and list of basic analogies.

If you want to dive right into it, I also have Word Analogy Boom Cards. These 52 cards are amazing because they teach and explain about analogies before the students begin solving them. Even better, Boom Cards are self checking, so it’s a simple way to save yourself some time grading.

Word analogy Boom cards cover


If you prefer activities as a printable PDF or in Powerpoint or in Google Slides (™) I have you covered there, too. You can get the same 52 analogies in this Word Analogies Critical Thinking Activities packet.


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What other ideas do you have for teaching analogies? Please share them in the comments!



Another post about word analogies:

My Students Never Understood Word Analogies (Until I Did This)



One Response

  1. I just had another idea for practicing word analogies. You could make it into a bingo game. Give students bingo cards with half of a word analogy. Then you read the first part of an analogy to them and they have to match it. It sounds like something fun to me! What do you think?