speech and language teaching concepts for Those Darn Squirrels! in speech therapy​ ​

Frequent Speech Sounds:

/skw/ initial
/er/ medial
/pl/ initial

Themes:

fall
kindness
unfortunate events
loneliness

Book Details:

Diverse Characters: N/A
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary

Those Darn Squirrels!

By Adam Rubin

Old Man Fookwire is a grump. The only thing he likes to do is paint pictures of the birds that visit his backyard. The problem is, they fly south every winter, leaving him sad and lonely. So he decides to get them to stay by putting up beautiful bird feeders filled with seeds and berries. Unfortunately, the squirrels like the treats, too, and make a daring raid on the feeders. The conflict escalates—until the birds depart (as usual), and the squirrels come up with a plan that completely charms the old grump.

This sweet fall book can be used in speech therapy to address character analysis and problem solving. It is also great for noticing character expressions and for targeting sequencing as well as for predicting! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Those Darn Squirrels! in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

complex episode

Narrative Concepts:

vocabulary​
theme/message​
problem solving​
character analysis​
sequencing​
illustration study​
inferencing​
social/emotional​
predicting​
verbs (action)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (irregular past tense)
verbs (linguistic)

Sequencing:

order of plans the old man and squirrels come up with to get/save the food and to cheer the old man up

Vocabulary:

clever, confident, devise, furious, strategy, stockpile, spectacular, raid, disguise

Character Analysis:

The old man and squirrels don’t care for each other at the beginning but learn to appreciate one another towards the end.

Social/Emotional:

The squirrels realize that they feel bad about their actions as well as the fact that the old man is lonely after the birds leave and try to cheer him up.

Grammar:

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

Inferencing:

Why do you think he sneezed dust?
Why do you think the birds never said anything about his paintings?
How does he feel about the birds?
Why do you think he built the bird feeders?
Why do you think the squirrels need to stock up on food?
How did the old man feel about the squirrels?
How did the birds and the old man feel now?
Why did the birds snort when the old man was finished?
What do you think the old man thought of his contraption?
What did the squirrels think about their next plan?
How do you think the squirrels felt when their plan didn’t work?
What did the squirrels think about the old man after the birds left?
What did the old man think about the squirrels in the end?

Predicting:

How do you think he can get the birds to stay and not fly south?
What do you think the squirrels will do?
What do you think he could do to stop the squirrels?
Do you think his plan will work?
What do you think he will try next?
Do you think his second plan will work?
Do you think the squirrels plan will work?
Where do you think the birds will go as it gets cold?
What do you think the squirrels will do to cheer the old man up?

Problem Solving:

The old man comes up with a plan to stop the squirrels from eating all of the bird food. The squirrels come up with a plan to steal the food, as well as coming up with a plan to cheer the old man up at the end.

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