speech and language teaching concepts for Amos and Boris in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/b/ initial
/m/ medial
/s/ final
/w/ initial
/or/ medial


unfortunate events
helping others

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: N/A
Age Recommendation: Late Elementary, Middle School

Amos and Boris

By William Steig

Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal. They meet after Amos sets out to sail the sea and finds himself in extreme need of rescue. And there will come a day, long after Boris has gone back to a life at sea and Amos has gone back to life on dry land, when the tiny mouse must find a way to rescue the great whale.

This captivating ocean book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like wanting more from life and friendship. It is also great for inferencing, targeting mental state verbs and vocabulary and for describing by using a variety of adverbs, adjectives, and verbs! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Amos and Boris in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complex episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
adjectives (compound phrases)
verbs (mental state)
complex sentence structure
perspective taking


order of events that leads to Amos and Boris saving each other’s lives


bursting, breakers, backwashes, navigation, compass, telescope, repair, mend, high tide, savage, sail, well suited, immensely, enterprise, phosphorescent, marveled, luminous, immense, vast, akin, squeaked, desperate, evaded, tread, dreadful, loomed, mammal, privilege, relief, secure, frazzle, rage, sounded, leisurely, admiration, delicacy, daintiness, grandeur, purpose, ambitions, curious

Character Analysis:

Amos wonders about the world and sets off to see it. When Amos meets Boris, they both envy each other and become best friends in the process.


Amos wants more out of life and finds a new friend on his adventure.
Amos and Boris both have moments of feeling alone and hopeless.
Amos and Boris both show kindness as they rescue the other.
Amos gets angry at Boris when he sounds, but then calms down when he remembers that he should be thankful for Boris’ help. They then find a way to communicate so that Boris is able to sound and Amos is not surprised by it.

Figurative Language:

similes (on waves as big as mountains, gemlike radiance of the mouse)


adjectives (compound phrases)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (irregular past tense)
verbs (present progressive)
verbs (mental state)
complex sentence structure


What do you think he wonders about?
How do you think he will feel once he finishes his boat?
Why do you think he named his boat The Rodent?
How was Amos feeling riding the waves?
What do you think he is wondering about now?
Why do you think Amos was overwhelmed that night?
How does Amos feel in the water as he tries to grab the ship then sees it sail away?
How does Amos feel as he floats out in the sea?
What is he thinking about now?
How do you think Amos felt when he first saw Boris?
What do you think Amos thinks about Boris?
Why do you think Amos only wants to go home now?
How did they feel about each other as they got to know each other and then when they said goodbye?
How did they feel when they saw each other the next time many years later?
Why did he think you had to be out of the sea to really know how good it felt in it?
Why were there tears rolling down their cheeks?


What do you think he will pack with him?
What do you think he will see on his trip?
What do you think will happen to Amos when he falls off the boat?
What do you think Amos will do now?
What do you think Amos and Boris will do together?
How do you think Amos will save Boris?

If you are interested in seeing other ocean/beach books to use in therapy, then check out the Themed Key Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.