Lesson Plan: Identifying Sound Devices Used in Poetry

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Teaching Sound Devices

It was my first year teaching and Mrs. Boxbreaker sat in the back of the room writing my teacher evaluation. Things were going well until Tammy Shrieker in the second row asked a question. “Mr. Mistake,” she asked, “These are great poems and I kind of like identifying sound devices in poetry and learning about sound devices used in poetry. When will I ever use this?”

I could have said that identifying sound devices used in poetry increases reading comprehension and enables students to develop critical thinking skills. Instead, I became apoplectic, faked a seizure, and blew snot all over the chalk board. Mrs. Boxbreaker fired me on the spot and my Identifying Sound Devices in Poetry lesson plan has remained dormant ever since.

Until now.

Types of Sound Devices

Discuss the following sound devices:

  • Alliteration - repetition of initial consonant sounds: Porky Pig ate a platter of pot roast.
  • Rhyme - repetition of final sounds in two or more words: wild, mild, child
  • Assonance - the repetition of vowel sounds within words: goat, bowl, scold
  • Consonance - the repetition of sounds within or at the end of words: cutler, antler, battler
  • Onomatopoeia - the use of words that sound like what they refer to: clop, bang, thud

Strategies for appreciating sound:

  • Read the poem aloud several times.
  • Identify the sound devices.
  • Determine if the poem has a rhyme scheme.
  • Monitor your reactions to sound devices.
  • Note how the sound devices make you feel.


  1. Write the above information on the board. Instruct students to copy it in their notebook.
  2. Read a poem aloud several times. The first time, sit back, relax, and enjoy; the second time, mark examples of sound devices.
  3. Make a chart with 5 rows. In the left column write down the 5 common sound devices. In the middle column, write down a specific example of a sound device; in the right column, write down the effect the sound device creates.
  4. Read the poem aloud again.
  5. Add to the chart.
  6. Read the poem aloud again.
  7. Write a paragraph analyzing sound devices and their effect on the poem. The writer should focus on the author’s purpose in using sound. The paragraph should contain a topic sentence, supporting details, and interpretation.
  8. It may be necessary to brainstorm ideas together and model the process.
  9. An even better writing assignment is to have students write their own poem using at least two examples of each sound device.

This post is part of the series: Teaching Poetic Devices

Teaching poetic devices enhances poetic enjoyment, improves critical thinking ability, and makes you sound really smart.

  1. Teacher Tips for Explaining Sound Devices in Poetry
  2. Teacher Tips for Sonnets
  3. Figurative Language Lesson Plan
  4. Poetry Lesson Plans: Speed Poetry Analysis
  5. Teaching Walt Whitman: Summary and Lesson Ideas