Standard Lesson

All About Alliteration: Responding to Literature Through a Poetry Link

3 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Two 60-minute sessions
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Poetry offers many opportunities for word play and learning about language. But because poetry can seem inaccessible, many students approach poetry writing with trepidation. This lesson for third- and fourth-grade students is designed to overcome student fears by using a traditional poem to teach students about alliteration. After reading the book A My Name Is... by Alice Lyne, students use a variety of print and online resources to brainstorm their own alliterative word lists. They then create a poetry link that uses the traditional poem they have read together as a framework for their own poems.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • A poetry link is a "writing suggestion, statement, or assignment that stems from an original text." Poetry links should be open-ended and should connect to your students' world.
  • To make poetry links different from traditional writing prompts, class time should be dedicated to helping students brainstorm their own ideas for writing by looking closely at a specific text.
  • When creating poetry links, teachers can also use concepts such as alliteration.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Materials and Technology

  • A My Name Is... by Alice Lyne (Scholastic, 1997)
  • Atlases, cookbooks, catalogues, and baby name and alphabet books
  • Writing folders
  • Paper and writing and drawing tools
  • Chart paper
  • Overhead projector and transparencies
  • LCD Display monitor (optional)
  • Computers with Internet access




1. Obtain a copy of A My Name Is... by Alice Lyne. You can also use My Name Is Alice by Jane Bayer (Puffin Books, 1987).
2. Gather an assortment of cookbooks, atlases, catalogues, baby name books, and alphabet books. Put at least one of each type of book into a bin; you will need one bin per table. If your students are not sitting in groups, have them move their desks so that they are sitting in groups of four to six for this activity.
3. Visit the websites listed in the Alliteration Resources section to prepare to discuss alliteration with your students. All three sites provide definitions and examples you can use with your class; Module 3: Concept Classification and Mrs. Dowling's Literature Terms: Alliteration both include quizzes that you may choose to use with your students, either by copying them onto chart paper or by using a LCD display monitor.
4. If you have classroom computers with Internet access, bookmark the websites listed in the Vocabulary Resources section. If not, you may want to conduct Session 1 in your school's computer lab and will need to reserve time there as appropriate (you will also need to bring the bins of print resources you have found along).
5. Make a transparency of the Alliteration Brainstorming sheet or copy it onto a piece of chart paper. Make one copy of the sheet for each student.
6. Make a copy of the Task Observation Chart for each student and fill in student names; you will use these to take notes during class.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Learn about alliteration by listening to an alliterative read-aloud
  • Demonstrate comprehension of alliteration and practice research skills by using a variety of print and online texts to find alliterative words
  • Practice brainstorming and cooperative work by developing a list of alliterative words and a poetry link with which to write their poems
  • Apply the knowledge they have gained about alliteration to the creation of their own poem and illustration

Session 1

1. Introduce the book A My Name Is... to students. After reading the title aloud, ask if any of them are familiar with a similar jump-rope rhyme. Have those students who respond yes share their version. Explain that since these rhymes have been passed down orally, there may be more than one version.
2. Read the book aloud to students. You may choose to pause before reading a few of the pages and allow students to predict the content of the next page.
3. After reading the book, discuss the term alliteration with your students. Ask them if they can guess from the book you just read or from their own prior knowledge what alliteration might mean. You want to work toward a definition such as: Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds of a word in one or more closely followed words. Make sure students understand that alliterative words do not necessarily start with the same letter or letters; for example "phenomenal fat fish" is an alliterative phrase. You might want to brainstorm a list of words that use similar consonant sounds with students (phony and full, cider and silly, call and kite). This list should remain on the board through Session 2.
4. Tell students that authors or poets use alliteration to emphasize certain words or create a specific mood. Tongue twisters also rely on alliteration (for example, rubber baby buggy bumpers). Share the examples you have gathered with your students and lead them through one or both of the alliteration quizzes.
5. Show students the Alliteration Brainstorming sheet using an overhead projector or chart paper.
6. Choose a letter to use as an example, preferably one that students are unlikely to choose. For example, if no one in your class has a name that starts with F, it would be a good choice. Print the letter in the center oval of the brainstorming sheet. Explain to the class that they will make a list of names, places, animals, and foods or items that begin with the same sound as the letter you have chosen. Tell students that you would like at least ten words in each category.
7. Using one of the texts you have brought in for the class, model how to use the index to find ideas. For example, show them the index of a cookbook or atlas and go over the foods or places that are listed under F. You might also look for words that begin with Ph.

Note: You can use names of celebrities such as actors, singers, and TV characters as well as names from the baby book if you choose. The Foods/Items portion of the worksheet also allows you to include things that are culturally relevant for your students or your particular geographic location.
8. Have the class share suggestions while you record their answers.
9. Distribute the Alliteration Brainstorming sheets to the class. Tell students to select a letter (it can be the first letter of their first or last name or a different letter but it should not be the same letter you just used as an example). Have students use the resources you have provided to list at least ten words in each of the brainstorming categories. Remind students that they can select words for the list that begin with a different letter, as long as the initial consonant sounds are the same.

Note: You can change the number of words for individual students or for the entire class as seems appropriate to their ability level.
10. Circulate while students use the text and online materials you have provided and answer questions or offer assistance as necessary. Use the Task Observation Chart to take anecdotal notes.
11. Have students place their completed brainstorming sheets in their writing folders for Session 2.

Session 2

1. Gather students together in a group. Have available a copy of the book A My Name Is... and your class Alliteration Brainstorming list from Session 1 on the chart stand or overhead. Turn to the page that coincides with the letter that you chose. Ask a student to read that page aloud while you check off the items from the page that the class included on their brainstorming list.
2. Ask students to look closely at the illustration and list objects that begin with the same letter as is used in the text but are not included in it. If the item was included in your list, check it off. Add new items in a different color.
3. Turn to the back of the book and show students the lists of items that the illustrator has hidden on each page. Talk about why they think the author and illustrator did this. Questions for discussion include:
  • What types of words did the illustrator use in her pictures, for example, nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.?
  • What types of nouns are used in the illustrations, for example, food, animals, musical instruments, etc.?
  • Which letters have the most words illustrated?
  • Which letter has the fewest illustrations?
4. Tell students that they will now write their own poem using alliteration. But before doing so, they will brainstorm a poetry link that each of them will use when writing the poem. Look at the format of the text on each page of A My Name Is... and talk about what kind of pattern the book uses:
___ my name is _______________.

My best friend's name is _______________.

We live in _______________.

And we sell _______________.
Explain to students that you want them to come up with a similar type of pattern to write a class poem. Using the class brainstorming sheet, ask students to look at the types of words that are listed. What kinds of sentences could these words fill in the blanks for? Work together to create a poem using alliteration, remembering that the words have to start with the same sound and not necessarily the same letter. Students can decide as a group how long the poem will be and whether it will rhyme.
5. Once the students have written the group poem, write it on the board without the alliterative words. This is the poetry link that students will use to write their own poems. Tell students that their poems can vary from this format, but that they should use alliteration and should contain a minimum of four lines.

Note: You may choose to have struggling students follow the author's example more closely so that their poem is more of a pattern writing exercise with alliteration.
6. Have students take out their completed Alliteration Brainstorming sheets and choose one favorite item from each list that they will use for their poem. If there is more than one student with the same letter, you may have them compare work so that they do not both choose the same items.
7. Students should now use the words from their brainstorming lists and the poetry link to write their poems.
8. When students complete their poems, they should illustrate them, including in their drawings many other items that begin with the letter they have chosen. Remind them to check off the items on their Alliteration Brainstorming list that they include in their illustration.
9. When students complete their pages, they should fill out the Alliteration Self-Assessment.
10. At the end of the session, students should submit their poem and illustration and their Alliteration Self-Assessment (if necessary, they can complete the assignment for homework). They should attach a list of all the items they have included in their illustration with a paper clip. You should also collect the Alliteration Brainstorming sheets.
11. You can post student pages on a wall in your classroom or allow time for students to share their completed work.


  • Compile all completed pages into a class book that includes an index of hidden picture clues. Circulate the book to other classes, staff members, and students' families. Include a page where readers can respond in writing to the authors.
  • Create another book that uses the same poetry link but includes the names of school staff who have contact with your students. Or have students complete books of their own using the names of family and friends.
  • Compile the Alliteration Brainstorming sheets into a list and store it in your writing center as an alliteration resource. Move the reference materials you used for this lesson there as well.
  • Ask students to bring in other poems or literature that demonstrate alliteration and add poems or books that include alliteration to the book center.
  • Have students visit poetry websites to find other poems and poetic devices that capture their interest. Sites to visit include:
  • Have students use one of the words from their Alliteration Brainstorming list to complete an acrostic poem using the online Acrostic Poems tool. Or have them use their word lists to write a diamante poem using the online Diamante Poems tool.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Informally assess student comprehension of alliteration. Did students listen actively to the read-aloud? Did they participate in the group discussion that followed and then in the brainstorming session?
  • Use the notes you took on the Task Observation Chart while students completed their Alliteration Brainstorming sheets to assess how well they understood the concept of alliteration and how well they were able to use the resources you provided.
  • Review the Alliteration Brainstorming sheets to make sure that students listed at least 10 items in each category.
  • Assess student poems and illustrations. These pages should have illustrations and text. Look at how well students used the poetry link to write an alliterative poem and how many objects from their brainstorming lists students included in their illustrations.
  • Review the completed Alliteration Self-Assessments to see where students might need further work with alliteration and poetry links.