Alliteration and AssonanceAt the outset of the poetry unit I'll be doing this fall, students will be discussing the devices of alliteration and assonance. These are 10th graders, and I'd really...

Alliteration and Assonance

At the outset of the poetry unit I'll be doing this fall, students will be discussing the devices of alliteration and assonance. These are 10th graders, and I'd really appreciate some ideas about how to get the concepts across to them. One thing I've considered is a Venn Diagram with the two devices in each "bubble." Your thoughts, please...

Expert Answers
ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Alliteration and Assonance

At the outset of the poetry unit I'll be doing this fall, students will be discussing the devices of alliteration and assonance. These are 10th graders, and I'd really appreciate some ideas about how to get the concepts across to them. One thing I've considered is a Venn Diagram with the two devices in each "bubble." Your thoughts, please...

Last year in my class I began with alliteration.  We made up rhymes using nothing but alliteration.  (Peter Piper picked...)  After spending a few class sessions on writing and sharing that I went on to assonance.  I let them pick words out of the dictionary that had vowels that rhymed and then we wrote silly poems using the words that rhymed.

At the end of the unit, I took the assessment from their own poems and rhymes.  It takes some time and maybe some practice but I am using it again this year.

charcunning eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When teaching assonance I have them focus on rhyme at first: The fat cat sat on the black mat.  Once they know to pick a vowel and go with it, they are more secure in branching out.

For alliteration I make them pick a letter of the alphabet and brainstorm 10-15 words that start with that letter. Then I have them pick from their word pool and create a sentence. Again, once they do this with 2 or 3 letters it becomes second nature.

I think that the real difficult task isn't having kids identify or use alliteration and assonance, but teaching them how to ANALYZE how its use furthers the piece--does it provide more flow? add an onomatopeoic effect? When you say "the wind whipped wildly through the widow's hair", what is the effect of the alliteration?? It's imitating the sound of the wind makes as it whips through her hair--this is where kids get stuck.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I find students don't do as well with assonance as they do with alliteration, and that's not particularly surprising.  They tend to want to think assonance is all about the visual--but all "a" sounds, for example, are not the same. When I see they're right on the verge of assuming it's all a visual thing rather than a sound thing, I throw this one at them:  She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini.  Helps remind them assonance is about sound.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The ideas of songs and poetry are useful, indeed.  Another poem that is great for alliteration is e.e.cummings "Maggie and Molly and Millie and Me" that is replete with alliteration as well as having assonance. (When students read aloud lines with assonance they hear the vowel sounds and then identify it.)  The alliteration moves the poem along so quickly, just like children scurrying on the beach. 

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What about tongue twisters? They're full of alliteration. Here are a couple of web sites where you can find them:

http://www.fun-with-words.com/tongue_twisters.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8136/tonguetwisters.html

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best way to begin is by having them review tongue twisters and analyze them.  For example, "she sells sea shores by the sea shore" has repeated initial consonant sounds and repeated words, creating internal rhyme.  Some tongue twisters have both!

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Yeah, those are great. The kids will have all kinds of fun with these.
revolution | Student

Maybe you should give them poems that have applied these techniques before

How about trying these poems:

Invictus

The Highwayman

Anthem for Doomed Youth