poem by Laura Mucha , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning Intention:

I am learning to discuss some literary devices used to enhance meaning and to shape the readers’ reaction so that I can experiment with using a range of literary devices in my own work.

Success Criteria:

  • I can discuss how the style of language used in texts helps with characterisation.
  • I can discuss the types of language specific characters might use.
  • I can experiment with using language to suit specific characters.
  • I can compose a poem that features this language.


Essential knowledge:

View the video on Character from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

Characters drive the action in a narrative by setting out and trying to achieve a goal.

Goals and flaws allow us to connect with characters.

Inform students that when creating characters, authors consider many aspects of their personalities. Tell students that the language used also helps to create characters that are unique.

Ensure students are familiar with the term onomatopoeia. Briefly discuss examples, such as: crash, bang, squeak, gulp, swish.



Display the following excerpts of dialogue and the list of characters and inform students that each line of dialogue is spoken by a different character:


“Oh, ha me hearties, time for scrubbin’ those decks there. Best not miss a spot, or it will be walking the plank for you.”

“Come here my little cherub and let me have a good look at you. My, haven’t you grown.”

“About turn, left, right, left, right, left right. Halt! At ease soldier.”


  • A grandparent
  • An army sergeant
  • A pirate

Discuss which of the characters are most likely to say each of the lines (Line 1, a pirate, line 2 a grandparent and line 3 an army sergeant).

Discuss what students infer each of the characters’ personalities may be like, for example:

  • The grandparent (Warm, loving, caring)
  • The army sergeant (Authoritative, direct, assertive)
  • The pirate (Intimidating/threatening)

Emphasise that the vocabulary used in the dialogue assists authors with creating characters that are clear and that come alive on the page for readers.


Understanding text:


Prior to reading Blip, display the following version of the first stanza of the poem, with the uniqueness of the character’s voice removed:

Hello. Nice to meet you. My name is Blip. I am from Planet Zug. It is far away.
I am very tired now. It was a long trip.
If you drive by car it would be four gazillion miles.

Then, read the first stanza of Blip from the magazine or listen to the audio file. Discuss the differences between these two versions, using the following questions as a guide:

  • What information is featured in both texts?
  • What style of language is used in both texts (Consider the grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure)?
  • Which version portrays Blip’s character most clearly? (The poem in Countdown)

Use a Venn Diagram or a T-chart to organise responses. For example:


Similarities Differences

  • Both are about an alien.
  • Both feature similar information, such as the character’s name and where they are from.


  • The first example uses simple, grammatically accurate sentences.
  • The poem featured in Countdown uses specific language that suits the character, as they are from outer space.
  • The poem in Countdown uses language that matches the character.

Read the remainder of the poem from the magazine and discuss the following questions:

  • What is the subject matter of both poems? (It is about an alien who has travelled to Earth and wishes to teleport a human child back with them)
  • What style of language does Blip use in the poem featured in Countdown? Note: jot students’ responses on the board (For example, in jumbled sentences that are grammatically inaccurate, with some repeated language such as ‘quick, quick’ and an example of onomatopoeia, for example ‘click, click)
  • How does the vocabulary enhance the meaning of the poem? (It enhances the idea that Blip is from a far-off galaxy)
  • How engaging do you rate the poem? (Instruct students to score how engaging they found the poem from 1 to 5, with one being not very engaging and 5 being highly engaging)
    Note: Most likely students will provide Blip with a high rating for being engaging.
  • How does vocabulary impact readers’ engagement? (It creates a unique poem which is engaging to readers, and it helps create Blip’s character as being from outer space)


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be composing a poem about a character that expresses themselves in a similarly unique way. Tell students that first you will be composing an example together.

Begin by discussing unusual characters, such as:

  • A creature from under the sea
  • A talking doll
  • A talking dog

Select one of these (a creature from under the sea) and discuss how they might talk. Refer back to the list of unique ways Blip spoke on the board. For example:

  • Using grammatically inaccurate sentence structure, such as, ‘From the bottom of the sea, I be’
  • Using repeated language, such as “Water, water, swim, swim’
  • Using onomatopoeia, such as, ‘Splish, splosh,’

Collaboratively compose a sample poem featuring the examples of unique language discussed, for example:

Swimmin’ in the blue,

From the bottom of the sea, I be,

Slish splash splosh,

Try you swim with me!

Place students with a partner and instruct them to compose poems by completing the following steps:

  • Select an unusual character
  • Make notes on vocabulary they might use (jumbled sentences that are grammatically inaccurate, repeated language and onomatopoeia)
  • Use this vocabulary in a brief poem, narrated by the character

Assessment for/as learning:

Once students have completed their poems, discuss criteria for assessing them and collaboratively construct a list, for example:

  • Features an unusual character
  • Uses unique vocabulary, such as jumbled sentences that are grammatically inaccurate, repeated language and onomatopoeia
  • Includes ideas in a poem

Match pairs together and instruct them to peer-assess each other’s work. Tell students to use the criteria discussed collaboratively to assess their work of their peers. Students can use the Two stars and a wish strategy to provide feedback.