speech and language teaching concepts for Doctor De Soto in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/f/ initial
/s/ medial
/er/ final


fox metaphor
dental care
being clever
helping others
community helpers

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

Doctor De Soto

By William Steig

Since he’s a mouse, Doctor De Soto refuses to treat “dangerous” animals–that is, animals who have a taste for mice. But one day a fox shows up and begs for relief from the tooth that’s killing him. How can the kindhearted De Sotos turn him away? But how can they make sure that the fox doesn’t give in to his baser instincts once his tooth is fixed? Those clever De Sotos will find a way.

This clever book can be used in speech therapy as a narrative assessment with elementary or middle school ages, but it is also an excellent book for perspective taking and for addressing inferencing. It is also great for it’s Tier 2 vocabulary and figurative language due to the fox metaphor! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Doctor De Soto in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
point of view
perspective taking
problem solving
figurative language
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (linguistic)
verbs (mental state)
complex sentence structures


assistant, delicate, dainty, timid, admit, treat, wailed, risk, bitterly, flash, despite

Character Analysis:

The De Sotos help the fox despite the risk, but when they suspect danger they develop a plan to outsmart the fox.
The fox is genuine when he asks for help, but then gives into his appetite and plans to eat the De Sotos.


helping others
body language
facial expressions

Figurative Language:

fox metaphor- “foolish to trust a fox” “outfoxed the fox”


verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (linguistic)
verbs (mental state)
complex sentence structures
point of view

Text Features:

exclamation points


Why do the extra-large animals need a special room?
Why do you think the De Sotos refused to treat animals dangerous to mice?
What kinds of animals are dangerous to mice?
Why can’t they treat the fox?
Why do you think the De Sotos made an exception?
Why do the De Sotos mistrust the fox?
What is the fox dreaming about?
Why do you think the fox changed his mind about eating the De Sotos?
Why do you think the De Sotos took the rest of the day off?


Do you think they will help the fox?
What do you think will happen when the fox returns the next day?
What plan do you think Doctor De Soto and his wife made?

Problem Solving:

The De Sotos choose to help a fox, but want to ensure their safety. What will they do to make sure that the fox does not eat them?

If you are interested in using Doctor De Soto in speech therapy, then check out the book companion with the full lesson plans and activities.

If you are interested in seeing other community helper-themed books to use in therapy, then check out the Themed Narrative Key Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.