using Tacky the Penguin in speech therapy​
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/l/ medial



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

Tacky the Penguin

By Helen Lester

Tacky’s an odd bird, or Penguin rather, who likes to do splashy cannonballs and greet his companions with a loud “What’s happening?” In fact, he’s something of an eccentric, which his fellow penguins find somewhat bothersome until his odd behavior saves the day!

This quirky winter book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like being yourself and acceptance. It is also great for noticing character expressions and for targeting the /l/ sound! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Tacky the Penguin in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
illustration study
text features
phonological awareness


order of events that leads to the hunters leaving and Tacky saving the day


companions, odd, hearty, graceful, chanting, blared, puzzled, clasped

Character Analysis:

While Tacky stays true to himself and saves the day, the other penguins realize he’s not so bad to have around after all.


being yourself
facial expressions
body language

Text Features:

repetitive text
all caps
large font
exclamation marks

Phonological Awareness:



How did the penguins feel about the hunters coming? How do you know?
What do you think they meant when they said “we’ll march ‘em with a switch”?
What do the hunters think about Tacky?
How do the other penguins feel about Tacky at the end?


What do you think the hunters are looking for?
What do you think Tacky will say to the hunters when he goes up to them?
What do you think the hunters will do with Tacky?
What might Tacky do next time hunters are around?

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

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