using The Night Gardener in speech therapy

Frequent Speech Sounds:

/g/ initial


gift giving

Book Details:

Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary

The Night Gardener

By Terry Fan

In the spirit of Goodnight Moon and The Curious Garden comes a stunning debut picture book filled with whimsy and creativity from brothers Terry and Eric Fan. One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.

This imaginative spring book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like creating joy without needing to be recognized. It is also great for noticing illustrations and for targeting sequencing, predicting, verbs and /g/ and /tr/ sounds! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Night Gardener in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

illustration study
verbs (action)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (irregular past tense)​​


order of creations the town sees


commotion, discover, wise, appeared, magic, wonder, sense, topiary, parakeet, dashed, magnificent, masterpiece, festivities, unfamiliar, admire, evidence


The Night Gardener creates sculptures to make the townspeople have a sense of wonder and joy and does so without recognition.


verbs (action)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (irregular past tense)


What do you think the story will be about?
What do you think he will see outside?
How do you think the owl got there?
What do you think he will see in the morning?
Who do you is doing this?
What do you think they will see next?
What do you think will happen if it’s something good?
Who do you think the unfamiliar man is?
What do you think the man will say to him?
What do you think they will do?
What do you think William will do next spring?

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