Poetry for Teaching Sound Devices in Poetry

Poems for Teaching Similes

Need to teach poetic sound devices to your high school class? Try teaching on one of the poems from this list that includes examples of assonance, consonance, internal rhyme and other sound devices. I’ve also included lesson ideas and links to my favorite poetry lesson plans.

ELA Common Core Standards Covered

Teaching imagery in poems may cover the following ELA Common Core Standards.  This is for your administrator, not your kids.  Kids need student-friendly worded objectives.

  1. RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  2. RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  3. RL.9-10.10 By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  4. L.9-10.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

This chart will accomplish your objectives with just about any poem involving sound devices: Sound Devices in Poetry.

So if you came here looking for a sound devices in poetry lesson plan, you’ve found it. If you’re looking for poems to teach using this lesson plan/chart, keep reading.

Key Points When Teaching Sound Devices in Poetry

There are levels of understanding when it comes to teaching sound devices in poetry:

  1. Monkey Level – Level 1 involves memorizing definitions–consonance, assonance, rhyme, rhyme scheme, alliteration, meter, rhythm, onomatopoeia, etc. Even a monkey can do this if it really wants to. Without progression, however, this knowledge is wasted.
  2. Post-primate Level – The 2nd involves being able to identify sound devices in poetry. It requires more than simple memorization, yet has very little relevance outside of a classroom.
  3. Scholar Level – Level 3 requires scholarly aptitude. It requires students to interpret sound devices and explain the author’s purpose in using sound devices.
  4. Master Level – Finally, the 4th level requires students to use sound devices in their own writing to create a specific effect. It will most likely involve writing poetry, but for true mastery, a student should be able to use sound devices in real world situations.

This lesson on sound devices in poetry focuses on poems with consonance, poetry with assonance, and poems with internal rhyme.  Find poems dealing with meter and rhythm here and poems with onomatopoeia here.

List of Recommended Poems with Assonance, Consonance, and Internal Rhyme

  1. “West Beast East Beast” by Dr. Seuss – I know it’s a children’s poem, but who better to use as an example of sound devices than the master. Seuss’s tongue twister delights and provides great examples of internal rhyme, assonance, consonance, and alliteration. Shatter the stiff English teacher stereotype by annotating and analyzing this children’s classic.
  2. “El Dorado” by Edgar Allan Poe – Poe provides a gold mine of sound devices in Eldorado. Instruct students to identify ‘o’ sounds in the poem and analyze their purpose. In addition, “Eldorado” serves as an excellent example of a poem with repetition.
  3. “Anabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe – Poe’s deft use of repetition, assonance, consonance, repetition, and internal rhyme make “Anabel Lee” a classic love poem.
  4. “The Eagle” by Lord Alfred Tennyson – the repetition of the hard k sound mirrors the harshness of the eagle’s habitat. The Eagle makes a great poem for poetry speed analysis.
  5. “Travel” by Edna St. Vincent Millay – Millay uses assonance to replicate the mingled voices on a train. Instruct students to write a poem about an ordinary place that they enjoy–the school cafeteria, the halls during passing period, the school bus, for example. Require them to use assonance in addition to other appropriate sound devices.
  6. “Beat! Beat! Drums” by Walt Whitman – I’ve never in my life used the phrase “Tour de Force.” It’s a cheesy, trite expression whose meaning is unclear. That being said, Walt Whitman’s “Beat! Beat! Drums!” is a Tour de Force: it’s got consonance; it’s got assonance; it’s got internal rhyme; it’s got alliteration. It captures the war pulse like no other piece of writing can.

Teaching Literary Elements with Poems

Understanding literary elements is necessary for literary analysis.  These poems will help you teach literary elements.

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