Sound words

Home learning focus

To understand what onomatopoeia is and use it to create a sound poem.

This lesson includes:

  • one video about onomatopoeia

  • one video of poet Joseph Coelho talking about onomatopoeia

  • three activities


When a word sounds like the noise it is describing, it is called onomatopoeia.

’Thud’, ‘crash’, ‘bang’, and ’buzz’ are all examples of onomatopoeia.

Watch this short clip to see some more examples.

See some more examples of onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia can help to bring a story or poem to life for the reader.

It is often used to add humour as well because the words usually sound quite strange or are fun to say.

Watch the following clip in which poet Joseph Coelho talks about onomatopoeia and how you could use it in a poem.

You only need to watch up to 1 minute and 23 seconds.

Joseph Coelho talks about making poetry fun.


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

Activity 1

Complete the task by matching the onomatopoeia (sound words) with the scenes you would hear them in.

Activity 2

Imagine you are visiting a zoo, like Joseph Coelho was in the previous video.

Write down a list of all the onomatopoeia words you might hear in a zoo and what is making those noises.

Aim to write at least five noises in your list.

For example:

  • Roar = an angry tiger

  • Plop = a penguin jumping into the water

  • Rustle = branches in the insect house

Activity 3

Now write your own onomatopoeia poem using the ideas you came up with in Activity 2.

You could use Joseph Coelho’s sound poem from the video as inspiration.

In your poem you need to:

  • Write in sentences.

  • Write at least five lines.

  • Use a different onomatopoeia word in each line.

You could also:

  • Use rhyme (words that end with a similar sound)

  • Use alliteration (words that start with the same first sounds)

  • Add some illustrations to your poem showing pictures of the things that are making the sounds in the zoo.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about paragraphs and questions.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help with your writing.

There's more to learn

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