Sounds in writing – use of onomatopoeia

Ask pupils to make a list of sound words that they already use in their writing e.g. crunch, sob, cheer, giggled.

Link these sound words to connotation e.g. ominous or excited.

Using one of the suggested stimulus materials, or one of your own, ask pupils to:

  • Make a list of the different sounds the poet hears; and
  • Choose 3 words from the poem that are used to describe the sounds being made.  Explain the effect of these 3 words.

Next, focus on onomatopoeia.

Pupils should find words to describe the sounds of some of the following:

Describe the sounds

Pupils could illustrate their favourite onomatopoeia.

Then, focus on sound associated with place or setting.

Pupils should make a list of the sounds associated with some of the following:

Associate the sounds

Once they have chosen a place, they could write a poem or a short paragraph about that place, creating an atmosphere by using some appropriate sound words.

As an extension, they could try to rewrite the same paragraph/poem, but with a different atmosphere than before.

Suggested stimulus materials

You may wish to avail of the following: 

  • The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel;
  • The Sound Collector – Roger McGough;
  • Quiet – Richard Church; and/or
  • In a Moment of Silence – Michael Coleman.