using The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/sk/ initial
/sw/ initial
/sm/ initial
/str/ initial
/f/ initial
/l/ initial
/sh/ initial and final
/gr/ initial
/fl/ initial
/st/ medial
/er/ final
/air/ medial and final
/ar/ medial


helping others
overcoming fears

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

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

By Deborah Diesen

Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he’s fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he’s scared of the dark! Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.

This hopeful rhyming summer and ocean book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like conquering fears, helping others and self-talk. It is also great for character analysis and describing and for targeting /s/ blends, /f/, /sh/, /gr/, /l/ and /fl/ sounds! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
illustration study
text features​
repetitive text​
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (irregular past tense)
verbs (present progressive)
phonological awareness​


order of places Mr. Fish looked for the pearl
order of events that leads to Pout-Pout Fish overcoming his fears and finding the missing pearl


doozie, drowsy, current, pearl, weep, promise, mucky, further, dim, flit-fluttered, grim, reef, shore,  poach, beyond, slope, whirl, discovered, despair, trench, heap, whisk, dread, glimmer, brave, glorious, proud

Character Analysis:

Pout-Pout Fish is scared of the dark and has to remind himself that he is fast, strong and smart and overcomes his fear with the help of a friend.


Pout-Pout Fish uses self talk to encourage himself, and is also encouraged by one of his friends to keep going even when he is scared. He then realizes that his friends will be there for him when he needs it and that it’s ok to ask for help.


prepositional phrases
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (irregular past tense)
verbs (present progressive)

Text Features:

repetitive text​
change in text size
bold text

Phonological Awareness:



Where do you think he will look first?
Where do you think he will check next?
Who do you think is telling him it’s down beyond the slope?
Who do you think is there now?
What do you think he will do next time he has to go out in the dark?

Problem Solving:

When Ms. Clam’s pearl goes missing, Pout-Pout Fish comes up with a plan to find it, overcoming his own fear in the process.

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