Assonance, onomatopoeia and alliteration in poetry

Home learning focus

Learn how to use assonance, onomatopoeia and alliteration in poetry.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • three activities


There are lots of different types of poetic device. Remind yourself about similes and metaphors by watching this video.

What are metaphors and similes?

Poetic devices

You can become a poetry scientist by experimenting with different types of words and phrases, known as poetic devices:

  • Assonance is repeated vowel sounds (AEIOU) throughout the line/sentence.

For example, the rain in Spain fell on the plain.

  • Alliteration is repeating the sounds at the start of words.

For example, rare red rabbits revel with rage.

  • Onomatopoeia is words that sound like what they describe.

For example, crunch, smack or drip.

Learn more about poetic devices by watching this interesting video.

Playing with words with Joseph Coelho.

Other examples of poetic devices include:

  • Rhymes are words that end in a similar sound.

For example, the dog, sat on a log.

  • Repetition is repeating words for effect.

For example, steady, steady, steady the snow fell.

  • Similes describe something by comparing it to something else, using like or as.

For example, he ran as fast as a cheetah.

  • Metaphors are words or phrases used to describe something as if it were something else.

For example, she has a lion’s heart.

  • Personification is describing objects as if they are people and is a way of making sentences more exciting.

For example, the stars danced in the night sky.

  • Hyperbole is exaggerating to emphasise a point.

For example, the show was out of this world.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Can you match the different types of poetic device to the correct example? One has been done for you.

Poetic devices activity.

Activity 2

Give this a try! Read the poem in this activity and then label the different poetic devices used.

Poetic devices worksheet

Top tip!

It is great to experiment and play with different poetic devices. Remember, redrafting and making mistakes are part of the writing process!

Activity 3

Now, take a look at this villainous version of Humpty Dumpty.

  • Answer the questions.

  • Find any examples of different poetic devices.

  • Perform one of the poems to a member of your family or a friend.

Villainous Humpty Dumpty worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to use assonance, onomatopoeia and alliteration.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about writing poetry:

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