Pattern StoriesNext in our series of Predictable Books is Pattern Stories!

This week’s predictable book theme is Patterns – we are looking forward to sharing our favorite books that follow a pattern and why they can be so helpful and easy to integrate into our current therapy!

Pattern stories are the easiest to teach – best known – easiest to find books around. Scenes, characters, and phrases are repeated with minor variations such as in Froggy Gets Dressed or The Three Little Pigs.

Pattern Stories are great for therapy because:

  •  They can be easily used to teach and practice story retelling skills since they follow a predictable pattern and often include a predictable sequence
  • They include a pattern and new vocabulary words that often repeat, which can be helpful for targeting both semantic and phonological/articulation goals
  • Often make use of a familiar tone/inflection to which kids can chant along that can facilitate working on phonological and articulation skills – this is built-in repetition of target sounds and words – while still being fun!
  • They are great books for using cloze procedures to further engage children in the story and teach new vocabulary, as the pattern repeats, (i.e., Froggy put on his_______)
  • Generally revolve around a theme or category that can be used to tie in with grade level curriculum and expand children’s knowledge of basic concepts

Pattern StoriesHow to use Pattern Stories in Speech Therapy

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

Froggy Gets Dressed/Froggy Se Viste     By Jonathan London






/f, initial position, velar sounds /k/, /g/, /r/ blends /r/ blends, /s/ blends, medial and final /s/, final /r/


Present (play, sleep, wake, etc., and past tense sentence structures – regular and irregular (put, pulled, tugged, etc.) Present tense structure and past tense structure (e.g. puso,)- Noun/verb agreement- singular vs. plural


Clothing- socks, boots, hat, scarf, etc.; Weather terms – snow, cold, melt winter Clothing- calcetines, botas, gorra, bufanda, etc.; Weather terms – nieve, frio, invierno, derritir

Strategies to learn new vocabulary

New terms- melt, tugged, etc. New terms- derritir, calzar, atar, guantes, etc.

Wh- questions

What, who, where, when, why Qué, quién, dónde, cuándo, por qué

Macrostructure- story elements, structure, organization of a narrative

Sequencing, Story elements (characters, setting [time and place], problem, solution, initiating event, character intentions and desires, moral) Sequencing, Story elements (characters, setting [time and place], problem, solution, initiating event, character intentions and desires, moral)

The benefits of using pattern stories to teach vocabulary

Pattern stories can be extremely helpful in reviewing familiar vocabulary and/or teaching new vocabulary.  Like many predictable books, the same theme-based vocabulary will be repeated throughout the book.   This gives children multiple opportunities to hear the words, repeat them and increase their understanding of new terms when used in different contexts within the book.   This can be a great way to work on articulation and phonological targets and  syntax and semantic goals as well.

To further cement their knowledge and use of desired vocabulary, using visuals from the books, we can create many of our own pre- and post-story activities to increase children’s engagement with the material, and keep our lessons motivating and entertaining for little ones.

Below are a few ways we love to use a book to expand one lesson into many – and thus develop a mini-unit based around one story:

  • Review and pre-teach new vocabulary using  cards with visuals and/or including a surprise bag for smaller ones  (can have children guess what’s inside the bag and then label and discuss items)
  • Have children draw their own visual for the story and label new vocabulary and practice target words – with Froggy Gets Dressed children can draw themselves and label what they are wearing that day
  • While presenting the story, we can use visuals from the book to enable kids to have a more active role in the story-telling process (i.e., puppets for characters, each one assigned to a child in group)
  • Create a game board with story visuals to work on articulation target words or wh- questions as a post-story activity
  • Have students act out the story to work on their sequencing skills and use of temporal and sequential words

Pattern StoriesOne of our favorite simple but effective visuals for Froggy Gets Dressed can be seen below.   Children go through the sequence of events during or after the story has been told, and absolutely love helping Froggy get dressed to go play in the snow.

Great Books for Speech Therapy that use Pattern Stories

Below, you will also find a list of some of our other favorite Pattern 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

 The Three Little Pigs

pigs pattern

 Los Tres Cerditos

Bilingual Book

Plot: The classic tale of three pigs who build their houses and encounter a troublesome wolf.

Why we like it: This bilingual version has both English and Spanish on each page and makes use of rhythm and rhyming. This story is great for working on sequencing and retelling, along with providing many articulation targets in both English and Spanish (/r/, /s/, /l/, /d/, /th/).

 The Three Bearsbears pattern  Los Tres Ososrecitos de oro

Plot: Classic story of Goldilocks misadventures exploring the three bears’ home.

Why we like it: Using a story that many children are often familiar with can provide them with confidence in targeting retell skills.  It also provides ample opportunities for language targets such as family members, size, object/function as well as expected behaviors.

  The Three Billy Goats Gruff3 blligoats pattern bilingual  Los Tres Chivitos

Bilingual Book

Plot: Three billy goats attempt to cross a bridge and outsmart a troublesome troll.

Why I like it: Another classic story that children may be familiar with provides opportunities for describing, comparing, contrasting and working on sequencing and story retelling skills.

  The Carrot Seedcarrot seed pattern   La Semilla de zanahoriasemilla_de_zanahoria  Plot: A little boy plants and carrot seed and faithfully cares for it, waiting for it to grow, teaching patience to children.

Why we like it: Although this story is very simple, younger children can enjoy it for learning members of the family, steps to planting a seed, and labeling action words.  This book can also serve as an introduction to teaching vegetables as well as targeting /r/ clusters in Spanish.

  The Little Red Hen red hen pattern   La Gallinita Rojagallenita roja  Plot: The story of a hardworking hen raises her wheat and bakes her bread while her neighbors idle by.

Why we like it: This is a nice version of the story with rhythm that children can chant to or fill in the blanks. Language targets include action words, labeling nouns, intro to planting/harvesting, and sequencing.

 The Gingerbread Mangingerbread pattern  El Hombre De Jengibrehombre de ginebre Plot: A gingerbread man escapes from the oven and tries to outrun all those who may catch him.

Why we like it: Another story that can be ‘sung’ or chanted, this is a great book for targeting initial /r/ in English and trill /rr/ in Spanish along with sequecing and prediction making skills.

  The Runaway Bunny runaway bunny pattern   El Conejito Andarinconejo andarin Plot: A bunny tells his mother he is going to run away and she lovingly describes how she will catch him.

Why we like it: From the same author and illustrator as Goodnight Moon, this story provides children with opportunities for labeling nouns (animals and places) and action words, describing, making predictions, and retelling a story with a structure and rhythm.

  Seven Blind Miceseven blind mice pattern  Siete Ratones Ciegossiete ratones ciegos Plot: A band of blind mice discover something near their pond and venture out to make guesses as to what it could be.

Why we like it:  This story is wonderful for practicing describing attributes, size, color, shape and guiding children in making predictions.  They will be excited to find out what the creature is at the end of the story and whether their guesses matched up.

  Goodnight Moongoodnight moon
 Buenas Noches Lunabueanas noches luna Plot: A classic bedtime story with goodnight wishes from a sleepy rabbit.

Why we like it: A soothing story for bedtime or a classroom routine (before naptime story), excellent for labeling, describing, increasing vocabulary and targeting 2-3 word phrases.

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

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.

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