Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.
Differentiating Alliteration and Examples
Did you know that alliteration is derived from latira, the Latin word for letters of the alphabet? It makes it a bit confusing because it's not about the same letter, but actually the same sound. Alliteration is using the same sound repetitiously in a sentence or phrase. When teaching alliteration, it is important to focus on this and not simply looking for the same letters.
For example, climate change is not alliteration even though both words start with the same letter; whereas flip phone is alliteration due to the same f and ph sound. Most often, however, the words that make alliterations have both the same sound and letter, such as delicious donut and weeping willows. Teachers just need to be aware to clarify this to students so they fully understand alliteration.
Although alliteration is first introduced in preschool, teachers should continually reinforce learning and help students develop a deeper understanding as they mature.
- Tongue twisters - One of the easiest ways to introduce students to alliteration is through fun tongue twisters such as Sally sells seashells by the seashore and Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Reading aloud and having students repeat silly phrases help with the understanding of similar sounds. At this stage, students will not fully understand alliteration, but it introduces the concept at an early age.
- Writing tongue twisters - Teachers can build on tongue twisters by having students write their own. If students are having a difficult time matching sounds, teachers can create a word wall to help get them started. This will help students identify words that have similar starting sounds and not just letters and they can use this to help prompt their writing.
- Acrostic poems - Have students create acrostic poems using their name or a special word. For each letter of the word, students should write words or phrases about the main word.
- Fictional characters - Younger students can also identify with their favorite cartoon or fiction character such as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, or Peter Parker. Ask students which other cartoons or figures have alliteration in their names. (Hint for upper elementary students: Harry Potter characters have many!)
- Branding and Marketing - Students can identify various brands and slogans that use alliteration. PowerPoint, Coca-Cola, and Best Buy are examples of popular brands and products. Teachers can ask students to write slogans for products using alliteration and discuss how this is a way advertising departments help build brand recognition. Creating posters with their own brands and slogans can help them see the value in using alliteration in marketing.
- Music lyrics - Play songs such as Far Away by Nickelback singing misused, mistakes, too long, too late or Joni Mitchell singing they paved paradise and put up a parking lot in Big Yellow Taxi. Ask students to listen to their favorite songs and identify any alliteration in the lyrics. Have them play it in front of the class and ask other students to identify the words and phrases. Teachers can also ask students to write their own song lyrics using alliteration.
- Comparing other literary devices - Students can help identify alliterations in idioms, such as gas guzzler, worry wart, and hit the hay. Discuss reasons why alliterations are often popular in idioms. This is a great way to combine and introduce other literary devices as well. This stage is also a good time to address similar literary devices to alliteration such as assonance and consonance.
- Speeches - Many popular speechwriters have used alliteration. Reviewing speeches such as Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech and the alliteration content of their character or John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in which he used phrases such as lead the land we love and writ may run can help students identify alliteration in a more complex way. After reviewing several speeches, ask students to write their own and include several alliterations to help make it memorable.
- Historical literature - Students can identify alliteration in William Shakespeare's works such as Sonnet XII when I do count the clock that tells the time and Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven where lines such as while I pondered, weak and weary are used. Allow students to explore meaningful texts using alliteration and discuss why this technique was used and what it conveys to readers.
Alliteration is a literary device which is often used in poetry, but can also be found in other literature as well as brands, slogans, and speeches. When introducing alliteration to students, it is important to emphasize the same sound, not necessarily the same letter. Various learning activities can be used to teach and reinforce alliteration such as identifying alliteration in tongue twisters, brand names, music lyrics, and historical speeches. Students can also create their own alliteration devices to solidify their learning.
Alliteration is amazing! Literary devices have depth and detail which makes reading delightful!
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