One of the most efficient ways to plan your themed therapy units is to find books that will cover different ages and skills.
Today, I wanted to share some of the BEST ocean books for your speech therapy elementary caseload. Planning extension activities is easier when you have a handful of themed books to pull from for treatment.
Plus, using books in therapy is a low prep material that works well for mixed groups.
Tips for Choosing Themed Books for Speech Therapy
It’s hard to give you ocean books that will perfectly fit your caseload’s needs because we all have different ages and needs for our students.
Typically, when choosing books, I consider how versatile the book is to adapt for different goals and ages and if I can use the book to cover therapy for two to four weeks.
When I search for themed books, I either aim to find stories that fit the ages I serve or cover skills I need to target. For example, if I have students working on wh-questions, CORE words, and needing predictive text, I may select Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck.
If you need some tips for effective shared book reading techniques to use when reading the story in therapy, check out this post.
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Ocean Books for Prek-1st Grade Levels
Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae would be a great ocean book to use in speech therapy if you want to teach the category of ocean animals. Each page has information about the different animals and targets vocabulary and verbs related to each creature. There is fun rhyming prose with the text; however, there is a lot of text on each page. You can read chunks of the book across several sessions. Because there is a lot of text, there are many opportunities for finding words with your student’s speech sounds.
Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck provides a repetitive text that allows many opportunities to see and hear vocabulary words or target specific CORE words. This book greets each sea animal and says goodbye, which can provide practice with language for greetings.
Need Cheat Sheets for Your Ocean Books To Reference in Speech Therapy Sessions?
If you are running mixed groups and struggle with remembering what targets you can use for your group’s different goals, check out the themed book cheat sheets from the Themed Therapy SLP membership. Not only do you get book cheat sheets for each themed unit, but you also get various digital and printable materials to use as extension activities. Doors re-open July 22nd for the membership, so get on the waitlist HERE.
Ocean Books for 2nd-3rd Grade Levels
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson is a book choice for students working on story narrative elements.
This book also uses rhyming prose, which is excellent for working on phonological awareness skills.
In the story, the snail wants to go sail at sea and hitches a ride with the whale. Each page shares where the whale and the snail go, so the pictures highlight different things in the ocean.
Some skills you can target with this book are homophones, s-blends, word opposites (i.e., night/day, emotions), and basic concepts.
Dory Story by Jerry Pallotta is another book that works well for story narrative goals. It’s a tale about a boy who takes a dory into the ocean to explore. As the young boy rows out to sea, he sees different animals eating food, such as blue fish eating mackerels.
This book highlights ocean animals’ food chain and addresses why the boy’s grandfather says not to go out in the dory alone.
Ocean-Themed Books for Older Students
For older students, you can use these two books focusing on non-fiction text. Shark Lady by Jess Keating is the ultimate theme smash because it covers types of sharks, a woman scientist’s work, and the theme of finding beauty in something that others may find scary.
“The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs“ by Kate Messner is about the works of environmental scientist Ken Nedimyer. This book teaches about the ocean and provides a theme of small acts individuals can do to help preserve the coral reef. Sea urchins
With rich vocabulary embedded in the book, you can target a lot of tier II vocabulary, comprehension, and discussions that spark personal connections to the reader.
What Ocean Books Do You Use in Speech Therapy?
What types of ocean-themed books do you recommend for SLPs serving Prek-5th grade? Share in the comments your recommendation and how you use that book in therapy. If you need more summer-themed book ideas, check out this blog post.
Want extension activities to use with your ocean-themed books? Check out these blog posts and resources to help you plan engaging therapy: