using The Mess That We Made in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

​​/th/ initial
/s/ initial and final
/m/ initial


Earth Day

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Early Childhood, Elementary

The Mess That We Made

By Michelle Lord

The Mess That We Made explores the environmental impact of trash and plastic on the ocean and marine life, and it inspires kids to do their part to combat pollution. Simple, rhythmic wording builds to a crescendo (“This is the mess that we made. These are the fish that swim in the mess that we made.”) and the vibrant digital artwork captures the disaster that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Children can imagine themselves as one of the four multi-ethnic occupants of the little boat surrounded by swirling plastic in the middle of the ocean, witnessing the cycle of destruction and the harm it causes to plants, animals, and humans. The first half of the book portrays the growing magnitude of the issue, and the second half rallies children and adults to make the necessary changes to save our oceans. Facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ocean pollution, and how kids can help are included in the back matter.

This eye-opening spring and Earth Day book can be used in speech therapy to address sequencing, inferencing, and action verbs when describing the effects of pollution and what we can do to help. It is also great for targeting /th/, /s/ and /m/ sounds! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Mess That We Made in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

cumulative text

illustration study
verbs (action)
verbs (third person singular)
pronouns (subject- we)​
phonological awareness
repetitive text


order of events that lead to increased damage to our oceans and reversal of it


mess, pollution, over-fishing, welded, ​current, bay, plastic, landfill, reduce, waste, recycle, haul, protest


verbs (action)
verbs (third person singular)
pronouns (subject- we)​

Text Features:

repetitive text
facts page
map with garbage patches

Phonological Awareness:



How do you think the children feel watching the fish and seal?
What do you think they think when they see the seal get caught?
How do you think the turtle feels when it gets stuck?
What do you think the children think about the landfill?
How do you think the children feel about the mess we have made?
What do they children think about their efforts?

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