Monday, February 15, 2016


guest post by Nancy Viau

Kids love sound words, and onomatopoeia is often taught as early as kindergarten. Students know that onomatopoeia makes reading aloud fun, but do they know that they can use onomatopoeia in their writing now and for many years to come? Why not help them create an Onomatopoeia Resource List?

Encourage students to listen for the sounds in and around their classroom—the tick, tock of clock, hands clapping, fingers snapping, water splashing, shoes clacking, birds tweeting, etc. Name the onomatopoeia and begin your list as a class (tick, tock, clap, snap, splash, clack, tweet). Students copy the words in their writing journals, leaving plenty of room for additions.

Introduce Storm Song, one of my titles. Prepare for reading by asking students what sounds they hear during a storm, then read it straight through. Talk about what happens in the story and ask if the story contains any onomatopoeia. Have kids add these words to their lists.

Next, do the same thing with City Street Beat, my latest rhyming picture book. Like Storm Song, it’s filled with onomatopoeia. As you read it aloud, you’ll find that students have acquired quite an ear for sound words.

At this point, Onomatopoeia Resource Lists should contain approximately 100 words! Here’s a cool fact: My personal ORL has 402 words—YAY! 

Extended Activities:
Come On, Write the Noise: Students imagine a noisy setting such as a city, pool, zoo, amusement park, airport, farm, pet store, or home. After brainstorming noises in pairs, they get those pencils TAPPING and use at least 10 sound words in a one-page story.

Come On, Spell the Noise: Add the word “onomatopoeia” to spelling tests. Getting 12 letters in perfect order is something to be proud of. WHOOT!

Come On, Find the Noise: Work with the school librarian and help kids ZIG and ZAG, SHUFFLE and ZOOM through the library to find titles that contain onomatopoeia. 

Here are some helpful lists:

BOOM! Your students understand the importance of onomatopoeia and now have a resource list to use, and add to, for the next decade.

Nancy Viau is the author of three picture books: City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song, and two middle-grade novels: Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head and Just One Thing! (Fall 2016). In her interactive, energetic story hours, assembly programs, and writing workshops, Viau gets young readers rhyming and writing on the spot. She’s a Jersey girl with ties to both the country and the seashore, and finds inspiration in nature, travel, and her job as a librarian assistant.

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