Standard Lesson

Alliteration All Around

3 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five 45-minute sessions
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In this lesson, students learn about alliteration from picture books by author–illustrator Pamela Duncan Edwards. Using the books' illustrations for inspiration, students write original alliterative sentences and share them with the class. As the lesson continues, students practice using alliteration to create acrostic poems, alphabet books, number books, and tongue twisters.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Students should be taught to appreciate the sound and imagery of language.
  • Learning is enhanced when students discover words, sounds, and rhythms in unique and creative ways.
  • Poetry should be included as an integral part of the language and literacy curriculum.
  • Internet sources enhance writing and word play.
  • Students should be engaged in a wide range of writing exploration.

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

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 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).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 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.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak (HarperTrophy, 1991)
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Copies of picture books by Pamela Duncan Edwards (see Alliteration Booklist)
  • Dictionaries



1. Collect copies of Pamela Duncan Edwards' alliterative picture books (see Alliteration Booklist).
2. Gather a collection of tongue twister books (see Alliteration Booklist for suggestions). Also, locate a copy of Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak.
3. Bookmark the Acrostic Poems interactive tool on your classroom or school computers, and familiarize yourself with the tool. (If you experience difficulty, make sure that computers have the most recent version of the Flash plug-in, which can be downloaded for free from the ReadWriteThink Technical Help page.)
4. Print copies of How to Write a Newfangled Tongue Twister by Bruce Lansky. You may even want to try your hand at writing a tongue twister. Students will enjoy hearing an original tongue twister by you!

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Define alliteration
  • Identify alliteration in a variety of texts

Session 1: Introduction

1. Share one or more of Pamela Duncan Edwards' alliterative picture books (see Alliteration Booklist).
2. After you have read several pages aloud, ask students to define alliteration. (They will soon realize that alliteration is the repetition of words with the same beginning sound.)
3. Show a page spread that the students have not yet seen, making sure to cover the text. Ask students to quickly write one or two alliterative sentences to accompany the illustration on the spread. Have a few students share their sentences with the class.
4. Explain that alliteration is commonly used in advertisements, headlines, jingles, lyrics, poetry, jump rope rhymes, alphabet books, and tongue twisters. Lead a class discussion about why alliteration might be used in these sources.

Session 2: Alliteration in Acrostic Poetry

1. Share Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak. Point out how the author uses alliteration in word pairs to describe the activities of the alligators. Inform students that they will use the same alliterative style when writing their own acrostic poems.
2. Explain that an acrostic poem uses letters from a word written vertically to begin each line of the poem. Ask each student to think of a word with at least six letters that begins with the same first letter as his or her name. For example, Becky might choose "bubbles" for her word.
3. Brainstorm a model word with the class and write it vertically on the board or overhead as such:
"Bubbles" by Becky
4. As a class, think of two words for each line of the poem that describe the topic word and begin with the same first vertical letter. Our model "Bubbles" poem becomes:
"Bubbles" By Becky
eautiful balls
Usually up
Best blowing
Before bouncing
Lift lightly
Easily elevated
Sometimes slippery
5. Lead students to the classroom computers or computer lab, and introduce them to the Acrostic Poems interactive tool. Model again how to create an acrostic alliterative poem using this tool. Show students how for each letter of the vertical word, they should think of two words beginning with the same letter that describe the topic word.
6. Have students generate their own acrostic alliterative poems using a topic word of their choice. The Acrostic Poems tool provides students with sample words for each letter on the writing screen. You may also want to have a few dictionaries on hand to help students identify words for their poems.
7. Circulate among students as they are writing their acrostic poems and provide assistance as needed. At this time, you can also assess each student's ability to define alliteration using the class assessment provided on page 2 of the Alliteration All Around Rubric. Place the appropriate number from the rubric next to the student's name to indicate his or her level of understanding.

Session 3: Alliteration in Alphabet and Number Books

1. Explain to students that they will use alliteration to write either an alphabet or number book. They may decide which book they would like to write, and can work independently or with a partner.

Writing an Alphabet Book
Students writing an alphabet book can use the alliterative style in Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak. Provide copies of the book as a reference for students, but ask them to think of a different topic than alligators.

Writing a Number Book
Students writing a number book can also use the alliterative style of Alligators All Around to write their book, but they should use the beginning letter for each number. For instance, a number book about ocean animals might begin, "One ornery octopus, two timid tiger sharks, three tired turtles..."
2. Circulate around the room, helping students brainstorm, draft, and revise their books as needed.
3. As you circulate, again ask each student to write or tell you the definition of alliteration. Update the Alliteration All Around Rubric according to student's level of understanding after this third session.

Session 4: Alliteration in Tongue Twisters

1. Explain to the class that alliteration is used in one of their favorite things--tongue twisters! Share these original tongue twisters with the class, being sure to point out how alliteration is used in each one:
A big black bug blew big blue bubbles.

Many mini mice make nice merry music.

Pigs and penguins play ping-pong polo.

Big brown bears bake berry bread.
2. Ask students to choose partners and read tongue twisters to each other from the books you have provided (see the Alliteration Booklist). After a few minutes, ask each pair to share their favorite tongue twisters with the class.
3. Distribute copies of How to Write a Newfangled Tongue Twister by Bruce Lansky and read it with the students. Tell students they will use these instructions to write their own tongue twisters.
4. Divide the class into groups and distribute a Pamela Duncan Edwards' picture book to each group. Their first task is to choose a sentence from the book that would make a good tongue twister. An example from The Worrywarts might be, "Weasel wanted wieners and liverwurst, and his water pistol."
5. Then have groups write their own tongue twisters following the instructions in Bruce Lansky's article. Circulate among the groups and provide assistance as needed.

Session 5: Sharing Time

1. Ask students to share their favorite alliterative writing assignments. Give each student ample time to share his or her writing and illustrations with the class.
2. Hang students' work from this lesson on a bulletin board or other display where their writing can be read and enjoyed by others.
3. Ask students to comment on how alliteration makes reading and writing fun.


  • Students find examples of alliteration in newspapers, magazines, and lyrics and post them on a bulletin board in the classroom.
  • Students use alliteration to write advertisements or jingles for a product.
  • Students write jump rope rhymes using alliteration.
  • Students illustrate their alphabet and number books created during Session 3 to share with younger students.
  • Students write and illustrate their own alliterative picture book modeled after books by Pamela Duncan Edwards.
  • Students put on skits or puppet shows based on their alliterative books or acrostic poems.
  • Students compile all of their acrostic poems and create an alliterative class poetry book. This book can be put on display in the school library for other students to read and enjoy.

Student Assessment / Reflections

Use the Alliteration All Around Rubric to assess students' work during Sessions 1 through 4. Observe also students' interest and involvement in Session 5, during which they are asked to share their alliterative writing assignments with their classmates. Assess whether their writings and verbal comments reflect a proficient understanding of alliteration.