speech and language teaching concepts for Swashby and the Sea in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/s/ initial
/sw/ initial
/sh/ medial
/f/ initial
/ld/ final
/l/ initial


helping others

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

Swashby and the Sea

By Beth Ferry

Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene. One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them. When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?

This funny ocean and summer book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like friendship and not isolating oneself. It is also great for inferencing and for targeting character analysis as well as for linguistic and mental state verbs! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Swashby and the Sea in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

theme/message   ​
character analysis​
figurative language​
verbs (linguistic)
verbs (mental state)
text features​
repetitive text​


captain, retired, serene, commandeered, boarded, battened, hatches, fiddled, trespassing, vanish, wish, civilized, neighborly, firmly, muttered, meddle

Character Analysis:

Mr. Swashby loves the sea since he was a captain. Once retired, he moved to be close to the sea and no one else. He can be seen as a grumpy old man who doesn’t want to be bothered; however, once a young girl and her mother move in next door, his heart opens up a little bit for them.


Mr. Swashby learns to enjoy company and that being left alone isn’t all that it’s chalked up to be.

Figurative Language:

personification (the sea and he had been friends for a long time, she knew him in and out, sea meddled, etc.)


verbs (linguistic)
verbs (mental state)

Text Features:

repetitive text​
change in font
sand written notes

Phonological Awareness:



Why do you think Mr. Swashby wanted to be close to the sea when he retired?
How do you think the sea provided exactly the right thing at exactly the right time?
Why does he do all those things?
How does he feel about having neighbors?
What do you think the neighbors must think of him?
Why do you think the sea fiddled with his message?
Why do you think he doesn’t want to be neighborly?
Why do you think he keeps helping the girl?
Why do you think he whispered to the sea?
Why do you think the sea kept fiddling with his message?


What do you think the sea will change his message to?

If you are interested in seeing other summer and beach-themed books to use in therapy, then check out the Seasonal Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.