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Ready to Read
Alliteration activities can be very entertaining for your students and enrich their writing at the same time. Reading Animalia by Graaeme Base is a great way to begin. Even though it is a picture book, it can be used for older elementary students because of the sophisticated writing and colorful illustrations. It drives home the meaning of alliteration quickly.
Make sure, as you are reading, that you allow students to savor the elaborate words used to form the alliteration in each sentence, phrase or description. Also point out that occasionally it is necessary to use small words that begin with a different letter to have the writing make sense. For example:"Great green gorillas growing grapes in a gorgeous glass greenhouse. " Notice that the words "in" and "a" in the description were essential but seemed to disappear as the alliteration stood out.
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Students Strive for a Sensational Sentence
Now it's time for the students to test their talent at alliteration. Write each of the following sentence starters on individual slips of paper. Depending on the number of students you have, you may need to add more of your own or take some of the harder ones out. Place the slips of paper in a basket and have each student choose one. Each student should complete the sentence continuing the alliteration. Remind them that small words such as: and, in, the, an, and a can be used. Do some examples together before they begin. Students may use a dictionary or thesaurus. Depending on the grade level you may need to demonstrate the use of the thesaurus.
Samples: Cute critters cried at the curious creatures. Bald baboons bit buttered biscuits. Terrified triplets tried training tarantulas.
Antsy aardvarks … Bouncing babies… Cute cats… Devilish dogs… Energetic elephants… Funny foxes…
Gargling gorillas… Happy hippos… Icky ice-cream… Jovial jugglers… Kindly kittens… Loveable lions…
Mischievous monsters… Nasty nine-year olds… Obnoxious ostrich... Purple pirates… Quiet quilters…
Rascally rodents… Sudden sunshine… Tumbling triplets… Upside-down umbrellas… Violet violins…
White watermelons… Yodeling yaks… Zig-zagging zebras…
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Perfect Pictures Provide Pizzazz
When the students have completed their surprisingly superb sentences, it's time to illustrate them. Again use sample pages from Animalia for a reference. Notice that each page is covered with the illustration and the accompanying sentence,description or phrase has been written with fancy letters within the illustration. Encourage this kind of work from your students. They may not be artists but they can be neat, fill the page with color and try to illustrate what they have said in the sentence. The green gorilla gave a grouchy greeting:
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Here are some other ideas for incorporating alliteration activities into your lessons:
1. Students can write an alliteration using the beginning letter of either their first or last name.
2. When the assignment calls for writing sentences using spelling words or reading vocabulary, have the students add some alliteration to the sentence. It does not have to be the entire sentence but perhaps two words within the sentence.
3. Find a picture in a book or magazine and write a sentence/paragraph about it including some alliteration.
4. Students and teacher sit in a circle. Teacher calls out a noun and go around the circle thinking of a word to go with it that demonstrates alliteration. Sample: Teacher's word is "cat". Students could answer with adjectives: clever, curious, cautious, cranky, careless, cuddly,courageous,calico, or verbs: cried,cuddled,climbed,crouched,cowered,cradled,clawed. A resulting sentence could be: The curious cat clawed the clothes in the laundry basket.
5. Use author Shel Silverstein's poetry for more examples of alliteration in literature.
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Spice Up the Sentence
The main lesson in these alliteration activities may seem a little outrageous for everyday writing but it serves a purpose. In a fun way your students will learn about alliteration and how it can spice up their writing. It will encourage them to add colorful words to their sentences. Take the time to point out and praise usage of this technique in the work they do. Their scintillating sentences will liven up the time you spend reading their work,too!