speech and language teaching concepts for The Leaf Detective in speech therapy​ ​

Frequent Speech Sounds:

/m/ initial
/g/ final
/r/ initial
/f/ medial
/or/ medial
/st/ final


Earth Day

Book Details:

Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary, Middle School

The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest

By Heather Lang

This picture book biography tells the story of Meg Lowman, a groundbreaking female scientist called a “real life Lorax” by National Geographic, who was determined to investigate the marvelous, undiscovered world of the rainforest treetops. Meg Lowman was always fascinated by the natural world above her head — the colors, the branches, and, most of all, the leaves and mysterious organisms living there. Meg set out to climb up and investigate the rain forest tree canopies — and to be the first scientist to do so. But she encountered challenge after challenge. Male teachers would not let her into their classrooms, the high canopy was difficult to get to, and worst of all, people were logging and clearing the forests. Meg never gave up or gave in. She studied, invented, and persevered, not only creating a future for herself as a scientist, but making sure that the rainforests had a future as well.

This amazing informative Earth Day and leaves book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like overcoming obstacles to reach your dreams. It is also great for noticing illustrations and for targeting vocabulary, inferencing, describing and character analysis as well as for /m/, /g/, /r/, /f/, /or/ and /st/ sounds! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

problem solving​
character analysis​
illustration study​
figurative language​
adjectives (compound phrases)
text features​


ecosystem, unfurled, admire, rainforest scientist, detective, identify, flail, canopy, linger, frontier, Antarctic, defenses, toxin, scanned, herbivores, quench, sweltering, conserve, data, reference, extinct, organism, persuade

Character Analysis:

Meg was a smart, determined woman who worked hard to make her dreams come true even when others did not believe in her.


Meg had to overcome societal and rainforest obstacles in order to become a scientist, build the first canopy walkway, and inspire change while saving the rainforest.

Figurative Language:

similes (Meg wrapped herself in nature like a soft blanket, stuck like sap to her passion, she dangled like a worm on a hook)
personification (Meg wrapped herself in nature, the steamy forest painted her with a coat of sweat, a tree is a sponge, shelter, recycler, provider etc., rainforest mysteries called her to climb and discover, the jungle’s music danced all around her


adjectives (compound phrases)

Text Features:

change in font
change in text color
author’s note
rainforest explanation


Why do you think it pained her to get called on in class?
What do you think she likes so much about plants?
What did the men she encountered think about her plans and dream?
How do you think she felt trying to get the rope around the tree?
What about when she was falling?
How did Meg feel when she finally made it to the top?
What did others think about Meg?
How do you think the treetops encouraged her to find confidence in herself?
How did she feel when she created the walkway?
What type of personality do you think Meg has?
Why was Meg worried about conserving the rainforests?
Why do you think Meg felt like the plants gave her a voice?
How do you think selling crops and plants benefited them?
How do you think Meg persuaded all of these people to make change?
How do you think plants impact us today?

Problem Solving:

Meg came up with a way to use the rainforest to her advantage and convinced others to do the same while saving their livelihoods in the process.

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