speech and language teaching concepts for Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

initial /r/
medial /r/
initial /n/
initial /l/
medial /s/
medial /er/



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

Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy

By Lisa Wheeler

Turk’s parents are proud of him, the biggest, strongest, most graceful bird at Wishbone Farm. “He’s a dancer,” says his mother. “He’s an athlete,” says his father. “He’s a goner,” says his little brother, Runt.
But no one ever listens to Runt — even after people with seasonal plans and roasting pans begin showing up at Wishbone Farm, or even after the juiciest turkeys are chosen, one by one. “Chosen for what?” Turk asks. No one wants to hear Runt’s answer. But you will laugh at what he has to do to get his family’s attention. They are, after all, turkeys.

This fun Thanksgiving book can be used in speech therapy to target sequencing, inferencing and predicting. It is also great for noticing illustrations and for targeting rich vocabulary and comparing and contrasting character personalities! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
verbs (regular past tense)
problem solving
repetitive text
figurative language
compare and contrast
text features
illustration study


order of Runt and then Turk’s actions to save each other


carloads, chosen, plump, runt, audition, beamed, roasted, aside, drool, tackled, brave, warned, plucked

Character Analysis:

Runt is small, but smart. He is the “black sheep” of the family and is not taken seriously. Each time Turk struts his stuff to get noticed and picked for Thanksgiving, Runt saves him even though no one understands why!
Turk is the strongest, the biggest, the most graceful. He is a great athlete and a great dancer. He is good at football and dancing. Turk tries hard to get picked for Thanksgiving by showing off his football skills and doesn’t give up each time he isn’t picked. Turk eventually realizes what really happens if turkey get chosen, and returns the favor by saving Runt. In the end, and his parents finally go along with one of Runt’s clever plans.

Compare and contrast Runt and Turk.

Figurative Language:



verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (linguistic)

Text Features:

repetitive text
exclamation points
question marks


Why do you think no one ever listened to Runt?
What do you think about Runt’s response?
Why do you think Turk is practicing his dance and football skills?
How do you think Turk’s parents feel about him?
How do you think they feel about Runt?
Why did Runt have such a big reaction?
What did Runt think was going to happen?
How are Runt’s tears different?
Why did Runt wish she was vegetarian?
Why did the little old lady say that Runt was just right?
What does the family think about this?
Why does Runt yell for help and for them to hide him?
How does Runt feel?
Why did they listen to Runt this time?


What do you think the turkeys are chosen for?
What do you think Turk will do when Madame Waddelle arrives?
What kind of turkey do you think Madame Waddelle will want for Thanksgiving?
Do you think she will pick Turk?
What do you think Turk will do when Coach arrives?
What do you think Runt will do this time?
Who do you think this little old lady is?
What kind of bird do you think the little old lady will want?
What do you think Turk will do to help him?
What do you think Runt’s plan will be to hide them for Christmas?

Problem Solving:

Runt knows that Turk is going to get eaten and tries to warn his family each time. When the roles are reversed and Runt is picked for Thanksgiving, Turk follows through with his own plan to save him.

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

If you are interested in using Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy and other Thanksgiving- themed books in speech therapy, then check out these print-&-go cheat sheets. Perfect for when you don’t need a full book companion.