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Teacher Tips for Explaining Sound Devices in Poetry

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 1/17/2012

I love identifying sound devices used in poetry. My students didn't until I used this lesson plan. Find out how you can easily explain sound devices to your students with these tips for a great lesson plan.

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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.

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    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.
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    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.

Teaching Poetic Devices

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