The Cataract of Lodore

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Use a poem to conjure up a powerful visual image of a river and its journey

The Cataract of Lodore, by Robert Southey, is an example of a poem that uses personification, alliteration, assonance and repetition to make an impact. The poem (see opposite) lends itself well to oral and dramatic performance, and is rich in inspiration for cross-curricular links with dance and music.

Independent Text Level activities

Encourage the hildren to identify the verbs in the poem that personify the Cataract, for example: ‘striking’, ‘raging’, ‘running’, ‘smiting’, ‘fighting’, ‘working’, and so on. In groups, children can work on different parts of the poem and experiment with an oral presentation of their part, exploring different intonations, pitch and volume, such as getting louder/softer, whispering, slowing down/getting quicker, and so on. The class can then put the parts together and perform the poem, trying to convey the dramatic force of the waterfall. Tape record their renditions and add sound effects using a variety of percussion instruments.

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