speech and language teaching concepts for the polar express in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/r/ blends



Book Details:
Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary

The Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical train to the North Pole. The Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. This is a story for all who believe in the spirit of Christmas and those who treasure the sound of a reindeer’s silver bell.

This award-winning Christmas classic can be used in speech therapy to address describing with all of the adjectives and similes used. It is also great for targeting various grammar concepts, such as adverbs, prepositional phrases, and verbs. Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Polar Express book in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
figurative language
social/emotional concepts
verbs (action)
verbs (regular past tense)


rustle, conductor, raced, peaks, harnesses, polar

Character Analysis:

The boy chooses to believe in Santa despite what others might think. He is full of wonder as he travels on the train to the North Pole. Rather than choosing a huge or expensive gift from Santa, the boy chose a small, simple object to remind him of his adventure to the North Pole.


facial expressions
body language

Figurative Language:



verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (action)
prepositional phrases
complex sentence structure


How do you think the boy felt when he heard and then saw the train outside of his window?
How do you think the children felt when they learned that Santa would choose one of them to give a gift to?
Why do you think the elves were gathered at the center of the city?

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