Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Alliterations Allowed

Mary Borges
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students recognize and create alliterative language in both literary and commercial use.


The student understands the subtleties of literary devices and techniques in the comprehension and creation of communication.

The student analyzes poetry for the ways in which poets inspire the reader to share emotions, such as the use of imagery, personification, and figures of speech, including simile, and metaphor; and the use of sound, such as rhyme, rhythm, repetion, and alliteration.


-Prepared notes/examples on transparencies
-Overhead projector
-Student-supplied paper and writing utensils
-Copies of “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe in a textbook or as a handout


1) Make transparencies.
2) Provide or determine copy sources of “The Raven” by Poe


1) Ask the class if anyone knows any tongue-twisters. Hear and discuss their responses. Put up a transparency of an example of a limerick which is also a tongue-twister:
A tutor who tooted a flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
“Is it easier to toot
Or to tutor two tooters to toot?”

2) Ask them why this/these tongue-twisters are easier to remember than other poems they may have heard. (Draw from them that the repeated sounds of the words are as important as what the words actually say.) Explain that these lines they know so well are examples of ALLITERATION.

3) Put up a transparency which defines alliteration:
The repetition of a sound in a group of words, usually occurring at the beginning of words, but sometimes in the middle or at the end of words.

4) Point out that advertisers and businesses often use alliteration as a way to help the buying public remember a business’s name or slogan. For example, Barbie’s Bridal Boutique is an alliterative title for a business which makes it an easy name to remember. Tell them that you want them to brainstorm alliterative names for new businesses. Write their ideas on the board or overhead. For example, what would they name a hardware store? (Harry’s Hardware Haven) A florist shop? A pet store? Gather as many business names as they want to provide and you have time for.

5) Next, point out that alliteration is a sound device used for repeating consonants in poetry, just as rhyme is used to repeat vowels. It improves the sound of the poem,
and makes it more pleasing to the reader’s ear. Provide copies or direct the students to read Edgar Allan Poe's “The Raven” to find alliteration. Point out alliteration in several lines in stanzas one and two. Then ask them to read more and find more examples of alliteration to share. Also point out that while tongue-twisters are very obvious examples of alliteration, poetry (like “The Raven”) uses it more subtly.
The amount of time devoted to discussion here is at your discretion.

6) Instruct the students to get out paper and pencils. They are going to create sentences that are alliterative. Remind them that sentences must have both a subject and predicate and express a complete thought. Their assignment is to create sentences of at least three words for each letter of the alphabet. Remind them that they are trying to get the sound, not just the letter. (For example, a “c” word can be used in an “s” sentence if the c-word sounds like an “s,” like “celery.”) If they can make sentences longer than three words, they may do so for extra credit. Start them out with an “a” sentence: Adam ate apples (at Albertson’s after algebra). Ask for a volunteer to provide a “b” sentence. Then instruct the class to complete their alphabetical sentences on their own. They may use dictionaries. Encourage them to be original and unique.

7) Collect their work. If you have more poems that demonstrate alliteration, you may wish to assign them and ask the students to find the alliterative lines.


1) Assessment for the oral discussion on Alliterative Business Names and Recognizing Alliteration in -The Raven- will be by teacher observation. (The instructor might want to extend -The Raven- assignment to a written assignment, setting a minimum number of examples of alliteration required in writing for a satisfactory paper.) Assessment of the alliterative sentences they submit in writing should use the following criteria:
Alliterative Sentences ---
a) Did the student write one sentence for each letter sound of the alphabet?
b) Does each sentence express a complete thought (has both subject and predicate, with no dependent words or phrases dangling)?
c) Does each sentence have at least three alliterative-sounding words?

2)Have students respond to this question at the bottom of their sentence papers: Why would a writer want to use alliteration? Give at least two reasons with specific examples. (Students should be able to say that it helps the reader/listener remember-such as in ads, it creates a pleasing sound in poetry-such as in -The Raven- or it creates a funny or memorable phrase such as in the allerative sentences that evokes humor.


The depth you take this study depends on the maturity of the students and the amount of time you have for extending this study into other poems. This lesson can be part of a larger poetry study or creative writing activity.
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