speech and language teaching concepts for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/l/ initial, medial, and final
/th/ initial
/sw/ initial
/sh/ initial



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

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell

By Lucille Colandro

You won’t believe why this old lady swallows a shell, a crab, a fish, a gull, a pail, some sand, and a wave! But watch out when she burps, with hilarious results! With rollicking, rhyming text, this lively version of a classic song will appeal to young readers. And there’s a surprise ending!

This silly ocean book can be used in speech therapy to focus on rhyming, sequencing, and predicting. It is also great for targeting the following sounds including: /l/, /th/, /sw/, and /sh/ with its repetitive text. Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

action sequence
cumulative tale

Narrative Concepts:

phonological awareness
repetitive text
WH questions (why and who)


order of things that the old lady swallowed


swallowed, crawling, crab, catch, gull, dull, wail, pail, bland, hassle


subjective pronouns- “she”
WH questions (why and who)
verbs (regular past tense)- “swallowed”
verbs (action)

Text Features:

repetitive text

Phonological Awareness:



Why do you think the old lady swallow the shell?
What do you think she will swallow next?
Why do you think she is swallowing each thing?
What do you think will happen to the old lady as she burps?

If you are interested in seeing other ocean/beach books to use in therapy, then check out the Themed Key Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.