Familiar Sequence Stories for Speech Therapy

familiar sequence stories Next in our series of Predictable Books is Familiar Sequence Stories!

Familiar Sequence stories are great for therapy because:

  •  They use sequences that most children have been exposed to, which helps comprehension of the story by tying story events into their own prior knowledge
  • They provide a context for working on functional vocabulary/skills if the child has not yet learned those sequences (such as days of the week)
  • You can easily include the scaffolding strategy of cloze procedure (the therapist begins the phrase and the child fills in the gap. Example: Therapist, “ Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday….” Child, “Thursday”)
  • The rote and automatic production of many of these sequences is great for individuals with fluency disorders and word retrieval difficulties
  • Familiar sequences provide many carryover opportunities far beyond the speech therapy room, into daily life and the classroom
  • They include core vocabulary words to practice both language and articulation

Familiar Sequence Stories are stories that are organized by a recognizable theme such as days of the week, months of the year, numbers, etc. (Example: The Hungry Caterpillar). 

familiar sequence stories  How to use Familiar Sequence Stories in Speech Therapy

As an example, here is one of our favorite Familiar Sequence stories, and how we like to use it in therapy to target a variety of goals:

The Hungry Caterpillar/La oruga hambrienta
By Eric Carle





/s/, /k/, /d/, final consonants /s/, /k/ and /g/, /r/ blends, multisyllabic words, final consonants


Past tense structureSingular vs. plural


Compound sentences conjoined with “but/pero,” “still/aún.”


Days of the week, food vocabulary, descriptive terms (colors, number)


Caterpillar/butterfly life cycle, days of the week, counting

Wh- questions

What, who, where, when, why

Familiar Sequence stories are great for making predictions.  The child can “guess” what is going to happen next because the story follows a structure that is familiar to them.  This helps keep them excited and engaged because they have background knowledge that can help them to participate even more!

Using songs with Familiar Sequence Stories

We like to use song and chants with Familiar Sequence stories. There are many songs that go along with most familiar sequences (e.g. days of the week, months of the year, counting, alphabet, etc). Songs are a great pre-reading activity to use before reading these types of books to help get children into the mindset of that specific sequence.

Here are some songs we love that go great with The Hungry Caterpillar, to teach the familiar sequences of the days of the week and numbers as well as telling the story:

Days of the Week/Dias de la semana by Dr. Jean

Today Is Sunday/Hoy Es Domingo by Dr. Jean

Months of the Year/Meses del año by Dr. Jean

Five Little Monkeys/ Cinco Monos Pequeños by Dr. Jean

All Dr. Jean songs from the ¡Olé, Olé, Olé!

The following songs can be found in iTunes:

Cinco Patitos by Jose Luis Orozco

5 Little Ducks by The Learning Station

Cinco Elefantes by Stanley A. Lucero

Days of the Week by Twin Sisters

Los Dias de la Semana by Jorge Anaya and Whistlefritz

Hungry Caterpillar by The Learning Station

Great Books for Speech Therapy that use Familiar Sequences

Here you will also find a list of some of our other favorite Familiar Sequence Stories. Some can only be found in English at this time, but are books that we commonly translate into Spanish and have basic enough vocabulary that it is easy to do on the fly. We have also included direct links to purchase your favorites through Amazon. We would love to hear from you on how YOU use these books in therapy!



 Description of Story

 Go Diego Go! To the Rescue! Al Rescate!

diego al rescate

 Bilingual book

A bilingual (Spanish/English) board book with interactive, and voice output buttons.

Why we like it: It’s a great book for eliciting action words!

 The Very Hungry Caterpillar hungry catapillar  La oruga muy hambrienta oruga muy

Plot: A colorful caterpillar moves his way through the life cycle, eating everything in his path.

Why we like it: An Eric Carle classic and children’s favorite, great book for teaching categories (food, colors), introducing the life cycle, comparing and contrasting and presenting days of the week and numbers.

 Froggy Gets Dressed

froggy gets dressed

 Froggy se viste


Plot: A frog convinces his mom to let him go play in the snow, only to be reminded by her that he needs to put on more clothes each time he attempts to leave the house.

Why we like it: Humorous story good for kids aged 3-5 targeting clothing, seasons, winter vocabulary and /r/ (English and Spanish).

The Grouchy Ladybug

The grouchy ladybug

 La mariquita malhumorada La mariquita malhumorada

Plot: The story of an ornery ladybug who gets involved in a series of tiffs with a succession of ever-larger animals.

Why we like it: Beautiful illustrations and full of language targets: concepts of time, increasing sizes, cycle of day to night and great for teaching cooperation and expected/unexpected behavior to little ones

 Cookie’s Week

cookies week

 La semana de Cookie

la semana de cookie

Plot: This story follows a mischievous kitten throughout each day of the week.

Why we like it: Great book for preschoolers to teach the days of the week and also introduces fun topic of conversation of raising a pet which is a good language stimulation topic.

 Ten Black Dots


 Diez puntos negros

diez puntos negros

Plot: Simple illustrations with different configurations of dots that teaching counting.

Why we like it: An appealing book for toddlers that teaching counting skills in a fun and imaginative way; invites fun arts and crafts follow up activities to create different items/animals with black dots for language targets

 Ten, Nine, Eight


 Diez, Nueve, Ocho Diez, nueve, ocho

Plot: A girl and her father count down to bedtime, teaching counting skills.

Why we like it: A Caldecott Honor book, this is a simple bedtime story that teaching counting and labeling skills in the context of the nursery; invites interactions and opportunities to make tangible connections

 10 Little Rubber Ducks

10 Little rubber ducks

 10 patitos de goma

10 patitios de goma

Plot: A story of 10 rubber ducks that are swept overboard off a cargo ship and travel to different parts of the world

Why we like it: Based on a true incident, this is another lovely book for teaching counting, colors, sequencing, and part-whole relationships

 Today is Monday (English only) today-is-monday

Plot: Various animals march across each page, eating a different food/dish each day of the week.

Why we like it: Introduces animals, foods and days of the week for preschool aged children with a chant like verse that children could easily learn to sing along to.  Great for targeting both language and phonology.

If you want to find more great books, please visit our Books for Speech Therapy page!

Literacy-Based Speech and Language Therapy Activities

Content for this essay adapted from Literacy-Based Speech and Language Activities. Use it to learn how to create powerful language therapy using predictable books.

Written by: Alyson

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