I am sure you have all heard of the infamous “There Was an Old Lady…” books by Lucille Colandro. These entertaining books are an easy way to target a variety of speech and language goals. When using these books in therapy, I print out a set of visuals of all the items that crazy Old Lady swallows.
With visuals in hand, these are the most common goals I target with this fun book series :
Have students/clients describe each item mentioned in the story. When describing the items, target details such as function, category, attributes, etc.
Use the items mentioned in the book to create sentences with an incorrect plural form. For example, “The Old Lady swallowed two book.” Prompt students to read each sentence and correct the target word by providing the appropriate plural form.
Use companion visuals and pictures representing various pronouns. Next, prompt the student to give the item to “him, her, or them.” Note: The therapist can also give the item to someone and prompt the child to label, using the correct pronoun (i.e. “She has the book.”)
Compare items in the book to other items mentioned, or items in the immediate environment. Have students list at least two ways the items are similar, and two ways they are different. Draw a Venn Diagram to help organize the information.
5. Following Directions
Use visuals to target directions with modifiers. You can target temporal concepts by placing object visuals in a row of 3-4 and prompting the student to point to an object before/after they point to another object (i.e. “Point to the pencil before you point to the book. “)
You can target directions with spatial modifiers by having students hide the book visuals in various locations around the room.
This is definitely a common goal to target with this particular book series. Prompt students to recall what the Old Lady swallowed first, second, third, etc.
7. Identifying/Labeling basic vocabulary
These books typically have a theme, which make them great for reviewing basic vocabulary groups (i.e. winter clothes, school supplies, animals, etc.) Increase vocabulary skills by labeling common items mentioned in the story. Therapists can also target identifying words by having a student point/gesture to the target word from a visual field of two or three.
Ask simple yes/no questions regarding details in the book. Some examples include:
- Is the lady old?
- Is the lady at the beach?
- Did she eat a _______?
For younger clients, or clients who struggle with yes/no, ask very basic yes/no questions regarding objects mentioned in the book. Provide a visual and ask “Is this a ________?”
9. Speech Sounds
Use the Old Lady to help you target articulation goals. Have students think of objects that start with their sound that the Old Lady might eat next time she gets hungry.
You can also cut out a picture of the Old Lady and feed her articulation cards (the younger students love doing this)!
Here are some great packets from TPT to help you target all the speech and language goals with these books:
Which is your favorite ” There Was An Old Lady …” book? Let me know in the comments below 😊