St. Patrick’s Day Activity for Targeting Speech and Language

By Jayne Jay, M.H.S., CF-SLP

“There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover” by Lucille Colandro

St. Patrick’s day is one of my absolute favorite holidays! I love the excitement and festivities – especially in Chicago where we even dye the river green!  There are an overwhelming number of “St. Patrick’s day” books out there- so here is a great one that can be used to target speech and language!

The “There was an old lady” series are included in my all-time best books to use in speech therapy sessions. This series has become a crowd favorite in my sessions among the children! They are visually appealing to the readers (both young and old) and extremely well written. The St. Patrick’s Day themed book There was an old Lady that swallowed a Clover does not disappoint!  You can find the book at garage sales, bookstores, or online. Not only is the book wonderful but- there are also so many great ways to incorporate speech and language, during reading.

Receptive Language (comprehension):

  • Following directions: Give the child 1-2 step directions while creating pictures of each of the items the old lady “swallows” during the book. You can tailor the directions to the appropriate level (1 step vs. 2-3 step) and give them directions (i.e. “draw a flower” or “draw a flower with a green stem and 8 golden petals”.) Have your child “feed” the lady as you read the story. You can also use these pictures later, as vocabulary cards.
  • Sequencing: Let your child demonstrate their story sequencing skills as they put the story in order. Use the important terms “first, second, next, last.” Understanding those terms can help them improve their sequencing abilities, in the future. For younger children, I often make note cards with the numbers 1,2,3, and so on. The children have to use their recall to remember the order of the items, in the book and put them by their correct number of occurrence.

Expressive Language:

  • Prepositions/spacial skills: Have your child practice prepositions/spatial skills with vocabulary from the story. You can work on spatial terms (i.e. above, beneath, beside, near) by playing a game of following directions.  Give or receive to place items “near” or “beneath” other items. Also, you can work on qualitative concepts (i.e. big, bigger, biggest, quickly, more, less etc.) and temporal concepts (i.e. before, after etc.) through various picture scenes in the book
  • Compare/contrast: have your child compare and contrast vocabulary words and characters from the story! You could use age-appropriate vocabulary to comment and describe various objects, activities, and environments with support/visuals as needed.


  • A lot of our kids are working on their articulation or correct production of specific sounds. Some students working on their /r/ sounds might say “St. Patwick’s day.” I really like to incorporate reading books into my articulation sessions because it allows children to increase their awareness of their target sounds. I instruct the child to go through the book and pick out words containing their target sound(s).
  • We can also target spelling by having your child search for the word and later work on the spelling of the selected words during a writing task.

Mini Books:

  • After reading books, it’s great practice for children to use their reading comprehension to create their own mini-version of the story. They are able to get creative and illustrate a mini version of the story. This task is great for story retell, articulation practice, and reading comprehension. Their mini-book can be reviewed again and again. Repetition is great in book reading!

These are just a FEW of the ways you could incorporate speech and language, into a shared book reading task. Do NOT feel that these strategies are limited to just this book. These are suggestions that could be altered to fit any book you read with your child! These are wonderful ways for you to be involved in promoting the speech and language of your child. The most important thing to remember is to **PLEASE- Keep reading!!** Your child will thank you later!!


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