speech and language teaching concepts for The Very Last Leaf in speech therapy​ ​
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/l/ initial
/s/ final
/f/ final
/k/ initial



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

The Very Last Leaf

By Stef Wade

Lance Cottonwood is the best and brightest of the leaves, but even the top students on the tree have worries. Can Lance conquer his fear of falling and just let go when the time comes for his final exam, or will he let his worries take over? In this funny and encouraging picture book, best-selling author Stef Wade (A Place for Pluto) tells an engaging story and deftly addresses social and emotional struggles many kids encounter each day…feeling anxious, wanting to be perfect, facing fears, etc. These themes combined with illustrator Jennifer Davison’s delightful characters and rich autumnal colors make The Very Last Leaf a perfect book for the start of a new school year, the arrival of autumn, or any period of transition in life.

This sweet fall and leaves book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like self-confidence and fears. It is also great for noticing character expressions and for targeting character analysis as well as for coping strategies! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Very Last Leaf in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode​

Narrative Concepts:

problem solving​
character analysis​
text features​


blossom, bud, resistance, photosynthesis, pigment, jealous, Evergreen, deciduous, ancestors, quiver

Character Analysis:

Lance is worried about letting everyone down and about all of the things that could go wrong but learns to believe in himself in the end.


Lance conquers his fear and learns to use coping strategies such as taking deep breaths and talking about your fears.

Text Features:

enlarged text


How did Lance feel about being the best and brightest student?
Why do you think he is worried about his final exam?
Why do you think he is afraid to fall?
How do you think Lance and Doug feel about each other?
What do you think the others will think about Lance if he doesn’t fall?
How did Lance feel when the others started talking about him?
Why do you think Lance is scared?
How do you think Lance will feel after he talks about his worries?
How did Lance feel at the end?

Problem Solving:

Lance is worried about all of the things that can go wrong when the Cottonwood’s jump to the ground and finds a way to conquer his fear.​

If 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.