Poetic Devices

Defined and Selected
for Elementary Students

by Judi Moreillon

Illustrated with Masks
by Sabino High School Students

Beth's mask
Japanese Noh Mask
by Beth



Example from Children's Poetry

repetition of the initial consonant sounds

Personal Mask by Sandra Hallquist
Personal Mask
by Sandra Hallquist

The poorest juggler ever seen
was clumsy Clara Creech,
who juggled a bean, a nectarine,
a pumpkin, and a peach.

Jack Prelutsky


comparison of unlike things
(made without using like or as)

Colors loud enough to be heard

Walter Dean Myers

Personal Mask by Matt Richards
Personal Mask
by Matt Richards


a word that imitates the sound it represents

Christia's mask
Venetian Mask
by Christia

All is still while the moon glows
save crickets chirping lullabies.

Juanita Havill


giving human qualities or characteristics
to animals or objects


el Sol
me llama

por la ventana

ven afuera"

Francisco X. Alarcón

the Sun
calls me

through the window

"wake up
get up
come on out"


Personal Mask by Kayla Castro
Personal Mask
by Kayla


using the same words or phrases in the same stanza or in a pattern in the poem

Personal Mask by Dottie Miles
Personal Mask
by Dottie Miles

How thin and sharp is the moon tonight!
How thin and sharp and ghostly white
Is the slim curved hook of the moon tonight!

Langston Hughes


a pattern of words that contains similar sounds
at the end of the line

My Valentine
Has eyes of green
With twenty eyebrows in between.
Her skin is blue.
Her head is square.
She hasn't got a brain in there.

Myra Cohn Livingston

Personal Mask by Randi Grossman
Personal Mask
by Randi Grossman

Rhyme scheme

a repeated pattern of rhymed words
at the end of the line

Joanna's mask
Mexican Mask
by Joanna

I'll tell you the story of Clooney the Clown
Who worked in a circus that came through town.
His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,
But he just wasn't, just wasn't funny at all.

Shel Silverstein

Rhyme scheme: AABB


comparing two physically dissimilar things using "like" or "as"

I slip under its silver light
and pull it to my chin,
like a quilt.

Nikki Grimes

(Comparing moonlight
with a quilt)

Personal Mask by Kim Troyan
Personal Mask
by Kim Troyan

Stanza or Verse

a group of poetic lines

(The example shows two stanzas.)

Lizzy's mask
African Mask
by Lizzy

Place, sound,
Memories of feelings, of place

A journey on the A Train
that started on the banks of the Niger
And has not ended

Walter Dean Myers


Link to Bibliography

Download Poetic Devices Category Matrix (Word Document)

Download Words Are Like Faces Emoticons Graphic Organizer (Word Document)

Contact Judi Moreillon: info@storytrail.com
Judi Moreillon's Home Page: https://storytrail.com