Next time you are planning a unit of poetry for your class make sure that you set some time aside for tongue twisters. Guidelines for poetry in the new curriculum encourage teachers to select a variety of fun poetry genres that children can explore, recite and use as a template for their own writing. In this regard, tongue twisters tick all the boxes.
Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze.
That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.
from Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss
Children love tongue twisters. They love trying them out, making (often very original) mistakes and enjoy hearing their friends and classmates do the same. In the past I have set challenges to see who can perform a tongue twister in the fastest time without making any mistakes of course! We put the results on a chart and encouraged everybody to see if they could over time improve on their personal best. Many members of the class became very skilled at spotting flawless performances and were always on the look out for any mistakes. Visitors to our classroom were also challenged to beat our best times. Everyone enjoyed witnessing a passing teacher make a mess of a particularly tough tongue twister we had laying in wait for them.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Often, having had a chance to explore different tongue twisters, children are very keen to try to write versions of their own. This is a great challenge and makes them think carefully about word selection ie words that are difficult to pronounce when next to each other, rhythm, rhyme and homonyms.
Betty Botter bought some butter,
“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter –
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.
With a bit of support many in KS1 and 2 will be able to produce their own whether it’s just one line eg:
If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
Or a full blown tongue twister with all the bells and whistles.
How much wood could Chuck Woods’ woodchuck chuck, if Chuck Woods’ woodchuck could and would chuck wood? If Chuck Woods’ woodchuck could and would chuck wood, how much wood could and would Chuck Woods’ woodchuck chuck? Chuck Woods’ woodchuck would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as any woodchuck would, if a woodchuck could and would chuck wood.
Ultimately, what could be more exciting and satisfying than writing your own tongue twister and challenging others in the class to preform it?
Check out this You Tube video which shows children in the USA attempting to read some fun tongue twisters with some very amusing results.
For more practical, user friendly and fun poetry resources for busy primary school teachers please ‘like’ my Facebook poetry site below.
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