Alliteration

Learning focus

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

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to show you what alliteration is

  • three activities

Learn

Alliteration is when words close together start with the same sound.

For example: Sammy the slippery snake went sliding by.

Watch this short clip to hear more examples of alliteration.

Hear some excellent examples of alliteration.

Alliteration is used in both written and spoken English.

You can find examples in poetry, advertising and events commentary. It is often used in newspaper headlines to grab the reader's attention.

Watch the following clip to hear poet Joseph Coelho talk about using alliteration in poetry.

(You can start watching at 1 minute and 18 seconds and finish at around 3 minutes and 17 seconds.)

Listen to Joseph Coelho talking about sound in poetry.

Joseph Coelho says that alliteration can be used to make funny tongue twisters.

Tongue twisters are a type of short poem with sentences that are tricky to say.

He gives the example:

Jovial jumping Joe juggles jam and juniper berries.

Another example you might know is:

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

Practise

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

Activity 1

Complete the alliteration activity using the words provided.

Activity 2

You are going to write your own tongue twister using alliteration.

First, choose a letter. This should be a consonant (any letter except a, e, i, o, u).

Now write down as many words as you can that start with that letter. The more similar sounding the better.

For example: B = Barry, berry, banana, butter, bitter, brave, broom, battery, buttery, beagle, bagel…

Activity 3

Write your own tongue twister using the words from your list.

Remember: You can still use some words that don’t start with the same letter so that your sentences make sense.

Make your tongue twister four lines long.

For example:

Barry bought a berry bagel
Before buttering his brilliant banana bread.
But Betty brought a better berry bagel
So Barry bit Betty’s bagel instead.

Top tip!

You can use the same words more than once.

Challenge yourself

  • How quickly can you say your poem without making a mistake?
  • Can any of your friends or family say it faster? Have a competition!

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about alliteration and used it to create a poem.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you improve your creative writing.

There's more to learn

More English Guides
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