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

/sw/ initial
/m/ medial
/sh/ final
/f/ initial


overcoming challenges
clever thinking

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: N/A
Age Recommendation: Elementary


By Leo Lionni

Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and teamwork—they can overcome any danger.

This classic, brave summer and ocean themed book can be used to target similes and metaphors. It is also great for noticing a character overcoming challenges as well as for targeting /sw/, /m/, /sh/ and /f/ sounds! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Swimmy in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

problem solving​
illustration study​
figurative language


order of sea creatures he discovers


mussel, swift, darting, fierce, lonely, marvel, medusa, etc.


Swimmy was sad, scared, and lonely when a tuna fish ate all his brothers and sisters. He explored the sea and marveled at the wonderful creatures and was happy again. Swimmy was happy when he found a new school of fish to swim with. He didn’t let sad events or challenges prevent him from being happy and doing the things he enjoyed.

Figurative Language:

similes (like a water-moving machine, like pink palm trees swaying in the wind)
metaphors (pulled by an invisible thread, tail was almost too far away to remember)


verbs (irregular past tense)


How do you think Swimmy felt when all the little red fish got eaten?
Why do you think Swimmy didn’t get eaten?
How did he feel as he swam through the ocean?
How did he feel when he saw a school of little fish just like his own?
How did he feel when they said they wouldn’t go explore with him?
What was he thinking then?
Why do you think he would be the eyes? Why else?
How do you think they all felt as they swam along at the end?

Problem Solving:

Swimmy comes up with a clever plan to help the other fish overcome their fear of the shark by using his knowledge of what he had observed in the sea.

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