Songs for Speech Therapy to use with Storybooks

Songs for Speech Therapy Next in our series of Predictable Books: Song Stories!

This week’s predictable book theme is Songs for speech therapy.  Song stories can be a wonderful addition to our therapy as they are an extremely motivating tool and provide greater opportunity for engagement for little ones.

A Song Story is a story that contains rhyming words, refrains, or patterns that are used throughout the story.  (Example: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Wheels on the Bus).

Song Stories are great for therapy because:

  • They make therapy so much fun and will make children even more excited and engaged about participating in therapy
  • They are conducive to teaching speech paired with gestures which can be incredibly helpful for children who are working on gaining basic vocabulary
  • They can easily be used to target early developing sounds and provide younger children with more repetition
  • Beginning a therapy session each time with a song for younger children can be a great way to introduce a new theme or topic and provide them with exposure to new vocabulary
  • Children with whom songs and song stories are used frequently will begin to anticipate the inclusion of a song and can be motivated by choosing one of their favorites
  • Making use of melody and rhythm within speech and language therapy has been shown to be a successful strategy with students who have fluency impairments to boost confidence, apraxia to increase length of utterance, and autism to increase joint attention and engage the student

Cinco monitos brincando en la cama How to use Songs for Speech Therapy

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

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed/Cinco Monitos Brincando en La Cama

By Eileen Christelow





Articulation /f/, /j/, final /s/ (monkeys) /k/, /m/, /s/, /r/ clusters (brincaron)
Syntax Prepositions (English – on, off; Spanish – en, de)NegativesSimple past tense (ex. English: jumped, bumped; Spanish- cayó, pegó, llamó)Irregular past tense (ex. English: said, fell; Spanish – pusieron, dijeronPresent progressive (English – jumping)Compound sentences
 Semantics Bedtime vocabulary/routinesQuantitative concepts – numbesr/counting 1-5; (all, some, none)Feelings (happy, sad, worried, mad)
Pragmatics Expected behaviorsConsequences of actions/Cause and effect
Wh- questions What, who, where, when, why

Suggested reading activities with Song Stories:

Songs for Speech Therapy

Here are some great during and post-reading activities to go along with Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed:

  • Provide each child with a picture or token manipulative monkey to use while the song and story are being presented along with a bed so that children can join in while the story is being told
  • Give children opportunities to learn the story and chant or sing along by presenting the story over a number of days – re-reading/reviewing stories so that children become familiar with them is a wonderful way to target articulation and new vocabulary. Use purposeful pauses in the story to allow children to ‘fill in the blank’
  • Have children create a monkey face crafted from paper plates to work on following instructions and requesting necessary items. The monkey face could be converted into a mask with a popsicle stick and children could act out the story after reading to practice a simple story retell
  • Using the story as a starting point, collaborate and create a bedtime social story for younger children to take home and use with parents or create a chart including expected and unexpected bedtime routine behaviors
  • Use a rhyming activity to work on phonological and speech sound goals with students using words from the story – have children clap along and practice rhyming words or come up with words on their own:

Songs for Speech Therapy Example:

English – “Clap clap snap BED” “Clap clap snap SAID”

Spanish – “Clap clap snap MONITO” “Clap clap snap BONITO”

Come up with your own activities for children to target appropriate goals and objectives. Song books are extremely conducive to creating engaging and relevant therapy activities!


Great Books for Speech Therapy that use Song Stories

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

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Old macdonald


La Granja del Viejo Juan

la granja

Plot: This classic children’s song book version with illustrations and opportunities for interaction.Why We Like It: Great for early childhood aged children, both versions of this book have built in opportunities for the children to interact with the book, name and describe animals and practice /l/, /f/ and bilabials in English and /l/, /r/ clusters and bilabials in Spanish.
Lizard’s Song lizards song La Cancion Del Lagarto cancion lagarto Plot: A simple songbook about a lizard willing to share and finding out why it’s important to be yourself.Why we like it: A light-hearted story with a valuable lesson, this rhyming songbook is appropriate for children aged 3-5 to teach describing and phonological skills.
Cada Nino/Every Child: A Bilingual Songbook for Kids cada nino Bilingual Book Plot: This book includes 11 traditional and original songs in both English and Spanish celebrating Hispanic culture.Why we like it: Includes many familiar and new songs for children aged 3-6, with predictable rhyming songs for working on phonemic awareness skills, identifying categories (family, food, animals), and many sounds in both languages.
The Wheels On the Bus wheels bus

 Las Ruedas Del Autobus

ruedas autobus

Plot: The schoolbus travels through town in this storybook version of the classic song.Why we like it: This book provides wonderful opportunities for following directions and working on many sounds, including bilabials and velars, in both languages.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed   Cinco Monitos brincando en la cama Cinco monitos brincando en la cama Plot: Kids will love this silly tale of monkeys jumping on the bed, and each one’s successive consequences.Why we like it: A rhyming and counting book to sing along to, this story can be used to teach /f/, /l/, and bilabials in English and /s/, /r/ clusters and bilabials in Spanish.
The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories and Fingerplays: Over 450 Spanish/English Selections rhymes stories Bilingual Book Plot: This extensive collection of rhymes, songs and stories combined, includes mostly traditional English nursery rhymes and stories translated to Spanish.Why we like it: Great tool for building vocabulary and sounds for speech development.
Diez Deditos and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America diez deditos Bilingual Book Plot: A bilingual collection of finger rhymes and action songs put together by wonderful children’s musician, Jose Luis Orozco.  Children will enjoy singing and moving with the songs and rhymes.Why we like it: Songs with actions paired with words give children another input to learn sounds and syllables.
The Frog Was SingingCantaba La Rana cantaba la rana Bilingual Book Plot: Another beautiful collection of traditional Spanish folksongs from Latin America in both English and Spanish, also includes music for piano.Why We Like It: Rhyming, poetic verses provide an introduction for children to songs in Spanish and English; could be used to work on /r/, /s/, /k/, /g/ in Spanish, and /s/, /k/, /g/ and /r/ clusters in English.
A La Rueda Rueda – Traditional Latin American Folk Songs for Children
rueda rueda
Bilingual Book Plot: A collection of 34 songs for early childhood through elementary school aged children with an accompanying CD.Why we like It: This songbook includes beautiful illustrations with reproducible pages and games for children with English translations and a pronunciation guide.  Helpful again for supporting development of articulation and phonological skills and working on all sounds.
Arroz Con Leche: Popular Rhymes and Songs from Latin America arroz leche Bilingual Book Plot: Another collection of Latin American nursery rhymes and popular children’s songs with an accompanying music.Why we like it: Rhyming and learning songs is a wonderful way to support building early vocabulary and mastering sounds and syllables for speech.  These songs can be used to work on many speech sounds in both languages.

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

Music for Speech Therapy music for speech therapy

Also,  materials for speech therapy using music and iTunes links to the songs can be found on our Music for Speech Therapy Page.  Enjoy!

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: Scott Prath

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