School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 7. Identify and describe the author's use of language

Objective e. Identify repetition and exaggeration


When authors write fiction text they may use exaggeration or repetition or both. Tall tales are usually short and can be a good source of exaggeration that is obvious. Exaggeration makes a text seem implausible but can add humor or an entertainment factor to the story. Repetition can be used for emphasis or to provide a structure for the story. Select a text that has one or both of these used. A simple text that uses both of these features is What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story by Kate Lum. In this story a boy comes to visit his grandma for the first time. When it’s bedtime Patrick, the boy, tells Granny that he can’t go to bed because he doesn’t have a bed there. Granny responds with “What?” and proceeds to go out into the yard and cut down a tree and make a bed. Obviously, this is where the exaggeration comes in. After solving that problem the cycle of repetition continues when the boy says “But, Granny, I don’t have a pillow here!” and Granny again answers “What?” and solves the problem in an exaggerated way. As the story continues each episode is introduced the same way by the two characters and Granny solves the problem in an exaggerated way. After a shared reading of the text, have students identify the repeated lines. Discuss with the students how this helps the reader by providing the structure for the story. Have students identify the exaggerations by putting post it flags on the pages that contain exaggerations. Have student volunteers read aloud the exaggerations observing for both accuracy and fluency.


Another story that has both exaggeration and repetition is Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne. In this story, Kate repeats the same action each time she climbs the beanstalk. The author uses repetition of dialogue between Kate and the giant’s wife and the giant and his wife. The author describes Kate’s climb up the beanstalk using repetition: “She climbed and climbed and climbed…up and up and up.” The author uses the same pattern in reverse when she climbs down the beanstalk. Discuss with the students why the author uses the different types of repetition during your after reading discussion. The exaggerations are a little harder to distinguish because we’re dealing with a giant! The wife describes the food as “a wagon load of bacon”, “a mountain of hash” and “sea of fish soup”. After reading the text, have student pairs reread the text and mark the repetitions and exaggerations with two different colors of post it notes. After a class sharing and discussion have students complete an organizer like the one below.

What the text says. Exaggeration or Repetition
Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum’un,
I smell the blood of an Englishwoman.
Be she alive or be she dead,
I’ll grind her bones to make my bread.
“You only smell the wagonload of bacon I fried for your breakfast.” Exaggeration



Have student partners read “Paul Bunyan and the Flapjack Frenzy” located at to identify more examples of exaggeration. The chapters are short and are read aloud by a narrator. Have students write the name of the chapter and list any exaggerations on an organizer. Because there are 14 chapters you may want to have students listen and read along for the whole tale but only add 2-3 assigned chapters to the organizer.

Chapter Number and Title Exaggerations
Chapter 1 – Big Baby It took 5 storks to deliver him.

He was smaller than a stadium but taller than a house.
Chapter 2 – Angry Axemen Everyone called Elmer (even the women!)

Fought over the stack of flapjacks and they fell on