Almost thirty years ago I was discussing alliteration with a group of Year 6 pupils. We looked at examples in both prose and poetry. Later that week I was reading a piece by one of the pupils – almost every sentence was alliterative. The fault was mine, not the pupils. I’d told them that I really enjoyed a well-crafted alliterative sentence (I still do) but what I’d failed to make clear was that the overuse of alliteration diminishes its power.
In 2007 the first book of Exciting Sentences was published. My aim was to help pupils to focus, not only on plot, but also on the way that authors manipulate language. I used simple language as I hoped this would help younger pupils (I had Year 2 in mind) to begin this process. The simple language didn’t preclude the use of metalanguage – it preceded it.
The sentences in the…
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