Peter Piper picked a peck of….what was it again?
It’s hard to forget Peter and his pickled peppers, even if you wanted to. But besides helping you memorize ridiculous nursery rhymes, could alliteration, like the long string of “P’s” in Peter’s famous phrase, actually help readers remember the tone and events contained in a larger written work?
According to four psychologists who studied this idea, it can. The team tested several conditions, including people reading poetry out loud, reading it silently, and reading lengthier works of prose. In every experiment, one group of subjects read material with long passages of alliteration, while others had to go without. The readers blessed with a bevy of alliterative passages recalled events and themes from what they read better than the group that read text with little or no alliteration.
To put it another way: For remembering your reading, researchers recommend repeated “R’s.”