I am the Magic

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Learning Intention: 

I am identifying sound devices in a poem so that I can improve my delivery in the form of a poetry recital. 

Success Criteria: 

  • I can identify a range of sound devices in a poem (rhyme scheme, internal rhyme, alliteration, sibilance, assonance, onomatopoeia). 
  • I can explain the features of a successful recitation of a poem. 
  • I can select key words within a poem to emphasise through voice effects such as tone, volume, pitch and pace.  
  • I can confidently and fluently deliver a stanza/poem to their peers.  

Prior to reading the poem show a model example of a poetry recital. (Suggested resource: the YouTube clip Poetry Out Loud: Recitation by Anita Norman.) Discuss the elements of a successful poetry reading such as:  

  • Tone – the way that you speak to someone, revealing your emotions or attitude about the topic 
  • Volume – choosing when to speak softly or loudly for dramatic effect 
  • Pitch – the highness or lowness of your voice, which makes speech sound natural and conveys emotion 
  • Pace – the speed of delivery, which further adds emotion and emphasis on key details 

Link how these presentation techniques have been used in your chosen poetry recital example. (For example, in the suggested resource the emphasis on the word ‘more’ in the oft repeated phrase ‘Light! more light!’ draws the audience’s attention to the subject’s desire to experience life as much as possible before his death.) 

Explain to students that poetry is so effective when read aloud because the speaker combines the vocal effects above with a range of poetic sound devices. Sound devices signal that the reader should slow their pace and use volume, pitch and tone to draw emphasis to them. These devices include: rhyme schemes and internal rhyme; alliteration; sibilance; assonance and onomatopoeia. For definitions of these terms and examples from famous poems, see the Owlcation article Sound Devices in Poetry. 

Read the poem with the class in a neutral tone. If you have a digital subscription, do not provide them with a copy of the audio recording yet. Then, model identifying the sound devices listed above through a line by line analysis. Some suggested examples include:    

  • Rhyme scheme: AABB (night/sight and boil/coil) 
  • Internal rhyme: ‘trouble that bubbles’ 
  • Alliteration: ‘tiniest tickle’ 
  • Sibilance: ‘shape of a shadow that slinks out of sight’  
  • Assonance: ‘wisp of a whisper’ 
  • Onomatopoeia: ‘creak’ and ‘howl’ 

Explain to students that you have deliberately read the poem in a monotone, or boring way. Their task is to use voice effects (tone, volume, pitch and pace) to deliver the poem in an engaging way with a spooky mood.  

Instruct students to choose a stanza (more confident students may choose to recite the whole poem) to recite to the class. They should highlight the words to emphasise through varying their tone and pitch. They should mark where they will pause their delivery using a forward dash (/) and use up and down arrows to indicate where their volume should increase or decrease. Explain that the sound devices indicate where they should use a range of vocal effects.  

Give students the opportunity to rehearse individually before delivering their chosen stanza, or the poem to their peers. Students may wish to record their recital using software such as Audacity and upload it onto a class blog.   

Finally, if you have a digital subscription, you can play the audio recording of the poem to demonstrate the features of a successful recital.   


If your class or children are focusing on their fluency and phrasing then make sure you enter the Voices of Touchdown Competition. Entry details are on The School Magazine Website. Entries close on the 14th October.