Using TV Shows and Movies to Learn Literary Devices

There’s no doubt that there are many ways for students to learn literary devices both inside and outside of typical classroom instruction. A great way to make learning complex literary devices more memorable and easy for students to digest is to use content from TV shows and movies. By using clips from popular media, teachers can build connections with their students as they recognize shows and movies that they enjoy resulting in an engaging classroom environment.

ClassHook is a great platform to show your students examples of literary devices helps improve student engagement because many of our clips showcase them through character dialogue and actions. This helps students visualize concepts, such as hyperbole, and shows how they can be used in both writing and normal conversations. Having a fun character like Shrek be your co-teacher in teaching literary devices will serve as a mnemonic for remembering what each literary device is and how it works. When they have trouble understanding what personification is, they can associate the term with the scene from Toy Story when the toys are shown to have human characteristics. 

Here are a selection of clips to get you started with learning Literary Devices:


A hyperbole is a literary device used to exaggerate and emphasize a point within writing and spoken communication. This clip from Kung Fu Panda exemplifies the use of hyperbole through the way Po describes how awesome he is as a warrior. An activity that can be done to teach the use of hyperbole is to have students creatively describe one of their accomplishments to each other.


A flashback is a literary device that takes the reader back to a specific event or sequence of events that have happened in the past to explain the present. This scene in Ratatouille is a great clip to show how flashbacks work because it shows how eating this dish brings the food critic back to his childhood invoking good feelings when he tries it again in the present. An activity that pairs well with flashbacks is to have students describe a moment in their life that affects how they see the world today.


The literary technique of foreshadowing is when the author creates hints of events that will happen later in the story. This clip from Jaws demonstrates foreshadowing by building suspense that a shark attack may occur at any moment in the scene through music and the actions of people playing on the beach. An activity to do with students is to have them point out parts in the clip that hint at impending danger.


The literary device of personification is the action of giving human traits to nonhuman objects. This fun clip from Toy Story demonstrates personification as the toys are shown to have human traits and characteristics. An activity that can be paired with this clip is to have students give human traits to an inanimate object.


Juxtaposition is a literary device where multiple characters, concepts, and storylines are set side by side in a story. In shows and movies this can be exemplified through an additional plot about a side character from the main story. In this clip from Hey Arnold, a juxtaposition is exemplified by Oskar trying to memorize “A Tale of Two Cities”. An activity that can help students visualize how juxtaposition works can be to use graphic organizers to write side plots about multiple characters from one story.


A simile is a literary device used to make direct comparisons between two things using the terms like or as. The clip from Phineas and Ferb uses similes in the form of “as” to make comparisons of his opponent being big. The clip from Shrek uses similes using the term “like” to make comparisons with onions and ogres. An activity to help students learn how to use similes is to have them compare things using like or as. 


A metaphor is a literary device where the writer can describe one thing to refer to another without using the comparative terms like or as. In this clip from Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny demonstrates the use of a metaphor by using a plant to give advice to Cory. An activity that students can do to practice writing metaphors is to compare one object to an emotion or event. 
On ClassHook, there are thousands more videos to choose from. As we build our library with tons of educational clips for language arts, we are also excited to introduce a variety of use cases for teachers to get inspired by the many ways they can further incorporate popular media into their classrooms. What are you waiting for? Have your students grab some popcorn and let’s learn literary devices!

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