Alliteration is used to make text flow and create impact in slogans, poetry, music, literature, and other language forms. She sells seashells down by the seashore, and Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers are examples of this literary device, in which two or more words in a sentence begin with the same sound.
Consonants (Gordon glared at the gloomy ghost) and vowels (Alicia ate an apple pie) can be used at the beginning of words to create alliteration. Alliteration is different than consonance, where the same consonant is used within words in a series, and assonance, which is the repetitive use of a vowel within words in a phrase or sentence.
Alliteration is common in picture books for children. Many alphabet books use alliteration on each letter page as a way to reinforce the letter sound.
Here is a list of some picture books teachers can use to demonstrate the use of alliteration, and provide inspiration for students to create their own alphabet books, poems, stories, or songs using repeated vowels and consonants:
- Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut, Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes, and Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda by Margaret Atwood: These three stories are all told in alliterative style. Each book focuses on a particular consonant, which students can easily identify when listening to the story. After reading each book, students can create a list of words that begin with the same letter, and write a short story using alliteration.
- Pink! by Lynn Rickards (The Chicken House, January 1, 2009): A story following the adventures of Patrick the bright pink penguin. Use this book to encourage students to choose an animal, name, and descriptive detail using the same initial consonant. Follow-up with writing activities modeled after Pink’s adventures.
- Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins March 15, 1991): This alphabet book features an alligator family as it makes its way through all the letters. After reading this book, students can create their own alliteration alphabet books.
- Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards (Katherine Tegen Books, April 4, 1998): This is a good example of the rich use of one letter sound in a book. Students can create a list of s words from the story, and write their own alliterative sentences.
- In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming (Henry Holt and Co., October 15, 1998): This Caldecott Honor Book uses strong alliteration and assonance to describe many things that happen in a small pond throughout the seasons.
She Sells Seashells And Other Tricky Tongue Twisters (Ways To Say It) by Nancy Jean Loewen (Picture Window Books, January 2, 2011): This is a book filled with hilariously fun tongue twisters. Look for it in your local library or at Amazon.com. Click on the book below to learn more:
The Big Book of Absolutely Animalistic Alliterations by Anna Childs (Fear Nought Publishing; 1st Edition, June 25, 2009): Anna Childs wrote and illustrated this alphabet book when she was 13. Look for it in your local library or at Amazon.com. Click on the book below to learn more: