Standard Lesson

Awareness of Alliteration: Enhancing Writing Through Mentor Texts

Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
One 20–40 minute presession and six 20–40 minute sessions
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A writing lesson focusing on alliteration allows students to strengthen their phonemic awareness while practicing their developing writing skills. Through the use of mentor texts, students construct a definition of alliteration. Using these texts as models, students experiment with creating alliterative sentences. First, working as a class, students create an alliterative book. While studying additional mentor texts, students generate their own sentences to contribute to a class book using the beginning sounds of their names. At the conclusion of the lesson, students use the mentor texts as examples when independently creating their own alliterative books using the Alphabet Organizer interactive.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Although alliteration is well understood, it is often undervalued in classroom writing.

  • Alliteration is an appropriate technique to introduce to students early because of its connection to phonemic awareness.
  • Pattern books are effective models as primary students often rewrite familiar texts.

  • Alphabet books provide many learning opportunities, including letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, visual literacy, organization, and sequencing.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Copies of the following books featuring alliteration:

    • Animalia by Graeme Base

    • Ellsworth’s Extraordinary Electric Ears and Other Amazing Alphabet Anecdotes by Valorie Fisher

    • Walter Was Worried by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

    • If You Were Alliteration by Trisha Speed Shaskan

    • The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg

  • Computers with Internet access and a projector

  • Chart paper and markers



  1. Collect one copy of each of the mentor texts featuring alliteration, as listed in the materials section. You may wish to include additional alphabet/alliteration books in your classroom library for students to read during their independent reading time.

  2. Gather chart paper and markers for modeling.

  3. Bookmark the ABC Match and the online Alphabet Organizer interactive tools on the computers. If using tablet devices, download the Alphabet Organizer mobile app.

  4. Print out the Alphabet Book Planning Sheet, and make a copy for each student.

  5. Print out the Alliteration Assessment Checklist, and make a copy for each student.

  6. Ensure paper and writing supplies are available for students to use to print and illustrate their alphabet books.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of alliteration through the creation of their own definition of alliteration and the writing of their own alliterative books

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the writing process through the planning, writing, and publication of their own alliterative books


  1. Use alphabet cards to assess students’ knowledge of letter-sound correspondence.

  2. For any student who cannot correctly identify 90% of the letter sounds, provide an opportunity to practice this skill using the online ABC Match interactive tool.

  3. Assess students again as needed. Students should have an understanding of letter-sound correspondence prior to Session 1.

Session 1

  1. Read The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg to the class. While reading, stop to note any interesting word choices. For example, you could use the following sentences:

    • “'The B was badly bitten.' I like how the author used the word badly. It lets me know more about the bite, and it sounds interesting.”

    • “'The J was rather jittery.' Jittery is an interesting word. In the picture, the J is shaking, but jittery with J sounds better.”
  2. Ask students, “What did you notice about the book?” Anticipate answers like “The words started with the same letters.” Record specific sentences on chart paper. Encourage discussion of the alliteration, although this term is not yet introduced. For example, invite students to circle the beginning letter of the alliterative words in the sentences listed on the chart paper.

Session 2

  1. Establish a connection between Sessions 1 and 2 by possibly saying, “In our last session we read The Z Was Zapped. Who remembers what was interesting about this book?” Allow time for responses, referring to the chart from Session 1. During the discussion, introduce the word alliteration. For example, say, “There is a special word for this: alliteration. Today we are going to learn more about it.”

  2. Read If You Were Alliteration by Trisha Speed Shaskan to the class. The book provides many examples of different types of alliteration. The explanations should be rephrased for first graders as you discuss each example. For instance, read aloud from page 6, “If you were alliteration, you would be the same sound repeated at the beginning of two or more words in a phrase or sentence.” After reading, say to students, “So, we are looking for beginning sounds that repeat if we want to find alliteration.” Read the examples that follow, and have students identify the alliterative sound.

  3. Provide students with the sentence starter “Alliteration is . . .” and have them complete the sentence on an exit slip you collect for assessment as they finish writing their responses. (An exit slip is a small piece of paper on which students respond to the prompt. It allows all students to respond and share their thinking. They should return it to you as they “exit,” or transition to the next phase of the lesson.)

  4. Gather students to share their definitions of alliteration, and compose a class definition on chart paper.

  5. After this session, read the students’ exit slips with the Alliteration Assessment Checklist by your side so that you can begin each student’s assessment for the lesson. As you read the definitions, note which students have not correctly defined alliteration. Prior to Session 3, pull these students aside for a small-group minilesson to reteach the concept. You may wish to read additional alliterative texts or prepare sample sentences for students to sort based on whether or not they contain examples of alliteration.

Session 3

  1. Begin by reminding students of the previous session. As a possible introduction, you may say, “We have been talking about alliteration, and in our last session we made a definition.” Read the class definition aloud. Then ask, “Can anyone think of an example of alliteration?” Spend some time discussing students’ responses.

  2. Tell students, “Today we are going to read a book with alliteration that is all about animals.” Read Animalia by Graeme Base to the class. Pause throughout the book to draw students’ attention to the examples of alliteration.

  3. Introduce the next step, saying “I enjoyed the alliteration in that book. I think we can make a class book with animal alliteration. We are going to use a tool called the Alphabet Organizer.” Model using the organizer with a projector. Use the following steps:

    • Open the Alphabet Organizer.

    • Choose option 2.

    • Say, “My favorite animal is a dog. I will click on the D and write Dog. Then as a note, I will write, ‘The dog danced every day.’ Does anyone have any other examples?”

    • Allow everyone a chance to participate. Support struggling students by suggesting alternate words if they struggle with generating words that have the same beginning sounds as their animal.

    • Print the class book, and place it in the classroom library.

    • Review the Alliteration Assessment Checklist again, answering question 2 and making notes for each student as needed.

Session 4

  1. Activate students’ prior knowledge by saying, “We read Animalia and made sentences about animals using alliteration.” Read aloud a few pages from the class book. Then say, “Today we are going to read a book that uses alliteration with names.”

  2. Read Walter Was Worried by Laura Vaccaro Seeger to the class.

  3. Tell students, “Today you are going to make an alliteration sentence using your name. You are going to use the Alphabet Organizer like I did in our last session.” Talk through the following steps using the demonstration computer and projector as students complete the steps on their own computers or tablets:

    • Open the Alphabet Organizer.

    • Choose option 2.

    • Click the letter of your name.

    • Type your sentence. (For struggling students, you may need to provide a list of words they can choose from when making their sentences. To ensure they understand alliteration, do not have all the words start with the correct letter.)

    • Print students’ pages, and ask them to illustrate their sentences if time allows.
  4. Have students share their pages with others in small groups. Collect all pages, and bind them into a book for the class library.

  5. Review the Alliteration Assessment Checklist again, answering question 3 and making notes for each student as needed.

Session 5

  1. Introduce the session by telling students, “You are becoming alliteration experts. We have made a book about animals and a book using your names that all have alliteration. Today we are going to read a book organized with an alliterative sentence for each letter of the alphabet.”

  2. Read aloud Ellsworth’s Extraordinary Electric Ears by Valorie Fisher.

  3. Begin the next phase of the session by discussing with students the planning they have to complete in this session in anticipation of the publication of their own alliterative books. Hand out the Alphabet Book Planning Sheet and guide students through the process of completing it, reminding them that their books should each have five sentences. Discuss any questions that arise, and then give students the remaining class time to work on their sentences. For some students, it may be helpful to provide directions one step at a time. As students finish each task, revisit them and assist them in beginning the next phase of the project.

  4. While students are working, circulate through the room, providing assistance to students who are struggling to begin or to generate an alliterative word for their idea. Depending on the composition of your class, you may find it beneficial to pull struggling students together so that you are able to more efficiently assist their efforts.

  5. At the end of the session, instruct students to put their planning sheets in their writing folders or collect them, depending on your classroom management system.

  6. Review the Alliteration Assessment Checklist again, answering question 4 and making notes for each student as needed.

Session 6

  1. Remind students, “Today you are going to make your alliteration books. Remember, you need at least five sentences with two alliterative words each. Please look at your Alphabet Book Planning Sheet, and make sure your sentences meet this rule.” (If you collected the planning sheets in Session 5, return them to students at this point.) Continue the editing process, saying, “Once you think your sentences are correct, exchange papers with a buddy and check each other’s sentences. Make any changes you need to before we begin typing. Then please open the Alphabet Organizer, choose option 2, and use your planning sheet from Session 5 to type your sentences.”

  2. Give students the remaining class time to type. (Note: Struggling students may dictate their sentences to a volunteer or aide, should typing prove cumbersome. Because the focus is on alliteration, as long as students provide the sentences, they can still be assessed even if they are not completing their own typing.) As students finish, their work can be printed, and they can illustrate their pages.

  3. Allow time for students to share their books. While sharing with the class is exciting, you may also wish to invite parents, volunteers, or other classrooms as guests to listen to the books. Once published and shared, add the books to the classroom library. Then, by scanning student work to the computer, it can also be uploaded and published on the class webpage.

  4. Review the Alliteration Assessment Checklist again, answering question 5 and making notes for each student as needed. Add up the points to determine each student’s final score for the lesson and whether they’ve met the learning objectives effectively.


  • To differentiate for struggling students who may find writing whole sentences difficult, the books Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet by Ross MacDonald and Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert may be used as models. These books show using single words for alliteration rather than whole sentences.

  • To differentiate for students who need an additional challenge, the book Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards provides an example of alliteration in which the entire story revolves around only one sound.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Student work should be assessed throughout the lesson using the Alliteration Assessment Checklist. The first student objective, understanding alliteration, is assessed in numbers 1–3 of the checklist with data gathered throughout Sessions 2–4. The second student objective, measuring a student’s use of the writing process, is assessed in numbers 4–5 of the checklist and in the evaluation of students’ books. Data for this objective is collected in Sessions 5–6.

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