Summer Language & Literacy Books

Summer is a great time to introduce new books into speech-language therapy sessions, read aloud time at home, or extended school year classes for children with special needs. I enjoy using a variety of seasonal books during early intervention evaluations and speech-language therapy sessions. There are several authors that are my favorite to use to elicit and build growth of children’s receptive and expressive language skills.

Children tend to gravitate towards books with colorful pictures and characters. They are interested in looking at these types of books and will often attend during shared book reading. There are some children who have a limited attention span that will not sit during sharing book reading, but it’s always good to have great summer books available that may spark their interest. Here are few recommendations by authors and illustrators:

Bill Martin Jr & John Archambault Authors, Lois Ehlert-Illustrator

Chicka Chicka ABC (20th Anniversary edition of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom)

This is a popular and engaging book for toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary school aged children. The repetitive lines are great for children to develop early literacy skills while learning about the alphabet. This book is great for young kids to practice naming basic nouns (e.g. tree, coconut), adjectives (e.g. colors), spatial concepts (e.g. top, up, down). Have fun with this book by pairing the repetitive lines with clapping or other body movements. Model for children and have them imitate language and body movements. You’ll see how quickly many will learn to say some of the phrases in the book! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Ten Little Caterpillars

This simple story book is great for kids who love bugs! During an interactive read aloud, a speech language pathologist, teacher, or parent can stop along the way and have children comment about what they see on the page. They can name and describe the objects such as flowers, caterpillar, jar, spider, leaves, stem, melon, bird, dragonfly, and butterfly. You may emphasize sequencing words such as first, second, third and verbs such as crawled, wriggled, and climbed. Make sure that you pause to see what children notice. It’s always important to give them time to comment. This book has one simple sentence for each illustrated page, yet provides multiple opportunities for an adult to facilitate children identifying and naming objects. Give children time to comment and build language. At the end of the story, they can practice counting, naming the type of caterpillar, and naming the type of type of butterfly or moth. A great extension activity is going on a nature hunt to see how many caterpillars or butterflies they can see outside in 30 minutes! Kids learn through experience!

Jonathan LondonAuthor, Frank Remkiewicz- Illustrator

Froggy Learns to Swim

This is a fun story about Froggy, a little frog, who is nervous at first about learning to swim. His parents take him to the local pond and before you know it he masters what he was born to do! After all, frogs love hopping around on lily pads in the water, floating, and swimming. Young preschoolers and early elementary school age children like seeing the adventures of this character, Froggy. Jonathan London’s writing style follows a similar beginning in his books with Froggy waking up and bouncing out of bed ready for his new adventure! This one is sure to elicit great communication and language skills too!

Froggy Goes to Grandma’s

Many children have nice memories of visiting their grandma and so does Froggy! In this story, his grandmother has special activities planned for his trip. He goes with his parents and sister, Polly in a taxi and then flies on an airplane to get to his grandma’s house. Children will get to see, listen, and/or hear about Froggy going to a museum, baseball game, amusement park, and bowling alley. Kids will learn about his best day of all that was actually at home with his special grandma. Hmm…I wonder what they did. It involves food! Yum! This book is perfect for preschool and early elementary school aged children. Children can practice:

listening comprehension

story retell


tier 1 vocabulary

basic concepts

oral language


oral reading

reading comprehension

The speech-language pathologist, teacher, or parent can extend the interactive read aloud of the Jonathan London books by having children discuss a visit to their grandparents’ home or time at the pool. Everyday routines and special activities are a natural way to increase language & literacy skills.

Two of my other favorite children’s book authors are James Dean who writes Pete the Cat books and Chris Van Dusen who writes about Mr. Magee and other stories. They are also the talented illustrators of their books. Check out these fun books for use in summer speech/language therapy sessions!

Pete the Cat Scuba Cat by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

Thanks for reading the blog today. Stay connected to the website for updates! Check out this link for other summer children’s book recommendations.

Tamara Anderson, M.S., Ed.S., CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Education Specialist

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