Age level: Upper Elementary, Middle School
Description: It’s Idioms Week here at the blog! Today we’re looking at 101 American English Idioms by Harry Collis, illustrated by Mario Risso. The illustrations in the book have proved to be a fantastic tool in working with learners with Austim Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who are struggling with understanding common expressions. They are silly and entertaining in a way that allows for many of the learners I work with to remaing engaged and dig deeper into the content. The book is split into categories of idioms (such as idioms related to animals, clothing, or doing your best.) Each idiom is clearly labeled, illustrated, and defined. The book then goes a step further to include a short paragraph or dialogue that clearly shows the use of the word and redefines it.
Skills & Modifications: The only ways I modify this book is to pick and choose the idioms my learners are most likely to encounter, to reduce the number of idioms I am teaching per day or week, or to reprint a page much larger and hang it in the room for the learner to refer to throughout the day.
– Idioms: While the book is actually designed for English Language Learners, it’s a great tool for teaching learners with ASD receptive identification of idioms and expressions.
– Picture Comprehension: As mentioned above, each idiom in the book is illustrated to clearly show what it would look like if the idiom were taken literally. It’s a great tool for having learners label what is happening in the picture and why it doesn’t make sense. Take for instance, the illustration shown to the right of “all thumbs.” The illustrations also give some hint to the true meaning or the mood behind each expression.
– Humor: The illustrations in this book are fantastic. They clearly show the idiom taken literally in a silly way that captures the attention and silliness of my students.
Pros: I can’t say enough about the quality of the illustrations, the succinct descriptions of how to use them, and the overall tone of the book. My learners and I love this book!
Cons: If your learner frequently scripts, this may not be the best tool for you because you don’t want the learner to focus on just one sample of how a particular idiom is used.
Cost: $14.95 You should invest in this book if: you are teaching idioms and know your learners would excel with the use of illustrations.