Aspect 5: Alliteration

Find here some ways you can support children’s play to help them develop their understanding and experience of alliteration. These suggestions are followed by activities and ideas that you can use to develop your practice and further children’s development.

Supporting children’s play

  • Play alongside children in a pretend café and place an order that uses alliteration. For example, you could ask for ‘juicy jelly’, ‘sizzling sausages’ or ‘chunky chips’.
  • After children have enjoyed a singing game, let them explore the resources you’ve used and act out ‘being the teacher’.
  • Make sure your book collection includes books with lots of alliterative rhymes and jingles.
  • Join children at the water tray and introduce alliterative tongue twisters such as ‘She sells seashells on the sea shore’.

Developing your practice

  • Singing rhymes and songs with alliterative lines such as ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’ and playing with jingles such as ‘Can you count the candles on the cake?’ helps to tune children’s ears to the relationships between the sound structures of words.
  • Children need to be able to isolate the initial phoneme from the rest of word. For example, they should to be able to say that ‘nose’ begins with the sound ‘n’). To support this, children need plenty of experience in hearing words that begin with the same sound. It’s important to keep practising familiar tongue twisters and to be inventive with new ones (to model alliterative possibilities).
  • Not all children will be able to produce a full range of initial sounds or the initial clusters (e.g. the ‘sp’ in ‘spoon’). However, it’s important to get their attention before reciting the string of sounds so that they can experience the initial sound pattern as it is modelled for them. These activities can reveal speech difficulties that may require investigation by a specialist such as the local speech and language therapist.
  • Not all children will be happy to participate in copying games. Some may feel self-conscious or be anxious about getting the game wrong. You can encourage them by copying what they do in the mirror or copying one another before asking them to copy your sounds and movements.