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Dinosaur Alphabet

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By Peter Riley

This leaflet features an alphabetical rhyming poem about dinosaurs, composed especially for Literacy Time PLUS by Peter Riley. Children will enjoy trying to pronounce the different dinosaur names, and the poem gives clues as to how to say some of the names through its rhyming patterns.


These teachers’ notes accompany the guided reading leaflet, ‘Dinosaur alphabet’.

Dinosaur alphabet

Before reading

  • Look at some dinosaur names – either from the leaflet text or from cards that you have previously made. Practise saying some of the names by breaking them up into phonemes.
  • Make up your own dinosaur names and use phonemes to say them – eg, ai-l-o-s-p-i-r-u-s; c-a-t-ee-p-or-o-n.
  • Remind children about the order of the alphabet.
  • Discuss the features of a poem.

Reading the text

  • Remind the children to use phonemes to work out the dinosaur names. Explain that the pictures might give them clues too.

Not sure how to pronounce the dinosaur names in this rhyming alphabet? Then help is at hand…

Author Peter Riley has prepared and recorded a pronunciation guide. Click here to download a printed version or here to download the audio guide.

  • Read the first three verses together. Talk about how the word jollier helps them to work out the word Aliwalia. Explain the use of phonemes to read the word Bambiraptor. Point out how the ch in chorus is said differently to the ch taught previously.
  • When the children have read the first page, ask them to tell you some of the words that rhymed. What did they notice about the word endings?
  • Ask the children to read the next two pages independently, using reading strategies they have been taught and thinking about the rhyming pattern.
  • Before reading the final page, help the children with the pronunciation of the dinosaur names (see pronunciation guide).


  • Ask the children which dinosaur they liked the best and why. Can they think of words to describe it?
  • Do they think the text gives them facts about dinosaurs or is it fiction?
  • Talk about new words that the children found. How did they work them out? Did everyone pronounce the dinosaur names in the same way?

Follow-up to guided reading

  • Make your own alphabet of fantasy dinosaurs using made up names. Link to work using the activity sheet below.
  • Use information books or the internet to make up another alphabet of real dinosaur names. Write a factual sentence about each dinosaur.
  • Ask each child in the class to make a puppet based on one of the dinosaurs. Then recite the poem as a class with each child saying their verse.
  • Can the children make up their own verses for the poem? Take one or two verses from the leaflet and add additional lines to them. Encourage the children to pick the verses that have lots of words that will rhyme. For example:

If you want to have some fun
Call for Iguanadon
He likes to play around in the sun,
Then go to sleep when he is done!

Key learning outcomes

Years 1 and 2

  • To experiment with and build new stores of words;
  • To apply phonic knowledge and skills as the prime approach to reading and spelling;
  • To segment sounds into their constituent phonemes.

The children will find it easier to write down some rhyming words first, then think up sentences. Eg, for the above example, start by listing words that rhyme with fun – bun, done, gun, none, run, sun, ton, won, one ...

  • Give the children wooden blocks and ask them tap the syllables which occur in each of the dinosaur names as they say them.

Using the activity sheets

  • Use the SAT-style activity sheet below to assess the child’s understanding of the text and to support information retrieval.
  • Use the activity sheet below to make up fantasy dinosaur names using phonemes, and to add illustrations for some of them. You may wish to enlarge this sheet to allow additional writing or pictures.