Animalia, by Graeme Base, is one of those picture books that appeals to all ages because of its intriguing pictures, and it is the perfect introduction to alliteration. Each page features one animal, described with creative alliteration and pictured with artwork that is expressive and animated. Each page is also full of interesting objects in the background, and students will enjoy searching the background for the many items that begin with the same sound as the name of the animal.
Here’s an example from the “V” page, which you might think would be a difficult letter to do alliteration with. This page is about a vulture, “Victor V. Vulture, the Vaudeville Ventriloquist.” The description continues with vivid vocabulary words including vociferous, vexatiously, and venue. The picture shows Victor V. Vulture on stage with his ventriolquist’s dummy, a vulture puppet, and a close look at the background reveals a Viscount vacuum cleaner and a weather vane among other miscellaneous objects. Peering over the stage curtain are portraits of a vampire, a viking, and a vicar.
I might start this lesson by having students write animal alliterations of their own before reading the book. Then, after listening to the book for inspiration, it might be a good time for a revising activity. Divide the class into small groups and have each group brainstorm a list of any and all words that they can think of that begin with the letters of the alphabet their group members used for their alliteration animal. Finally, kids can work individually to add to, or to revise, their animal description.
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