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

/j/ initial
/n/ medial and final
/k/ initial


being oneself

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary


By Sacha Cotter

A summer tale about family, overcoming fears, and the importance of being oneself, all in the pursuit of performing the perfect cannonball. As one boy searches for the secret to executing the perfect cannonball, it’s only by listening to his own voice that he finds his unique style and pulls off a truly awe-inspiring CANNONBALL.

This authentic, lyrical summer book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like perseverance. It is also great for noticing character expressions and for targeting character analysis as well as for describing! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Cannonball in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode​

Narrative Concepts:

problem solving
character analysis​
illustration study​
verbs (action)
verbs (present tense)
verbs (present progressive)
text features​
phonological awareness​


dream, pulling off, booming, slapping, “be something”, staple, knee lock, bottle pop, coffin drop, manu, ritual, pose, soar, swoop, accept, “cut out”, advice, flair, unfurl

Character Analysis:

The young boy learns to do things his way when the advice from others doesn’t help him land the biggest cannonball.


The young boy figures out that he has to believe in himself and do what makes him feel good in order to succeed.


verbs (action)
verbs (present tense)
verbs (present progressive)

Text Features:

bold text
moving text
change in font
change in text size
change in text color
photo album pictures
glossary including Maori words

Phonological Awareness:



Why does he want to do an amazing cannonball?
How does the neighborhood treat someone who can do an amazing cannonball?
How do you think Nan feels about teaching him the moves?
Why do you think everyone has a pre-jump ritual?
How does he feel before he jumps?
How about when it doesn’t go as planned?
What do you think everyone thinks about the advice they give?
Why did he say his voice is so quiet he’s not even sure it’s in there anymore?
How does he feel before he tries again?
How do the others feel waiting for him to jump?
How do you think he feels when he’s told that cannonballs aren’t for someone like him?
Why do you think Nan’s got other ideas?
What’s everyone thinking when he is up there doing it his way?
What do you think changed between the first time and now?

Problem Solving:

The young boy wants to do the best cannonball but has to figure out how to get better at it.

If you are interested in seeing other Cannonball books to use in therapy, then check out the Narrative Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.