speech and language teaching concepts for Unspoken in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/g/ initial (girl)
/er/ medial (girl)
/sl/ initial (slave)
/v/ final (slave)
/h/ initial (hidden)
/f/ initial (farm)
/ar/ medial (farm)


Black History Month
a strong and deep relationship between two individuals even though words were never spoken

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Late Elementary, Middle School

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad

By Henry Cole

A young girl’s courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story. When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in the barn, she is at once startled and frightened. But the stranger’s fearful eyes weigh upon her conscience, and she must make a difficult choice. Will she have the courage to help him? Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl and the runaway as they each face a journey: one following the North Star, the other following her heart. Henry Cole’s unusual and original rendering of the Underground Railroad speaks directly to our deepest sense of compassion.

This wordless Black History Month book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like freedom and slavery. It is also great for targeting historical vocabulary and inferencing. Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Unspoken in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

character analysis
illustration study


order of events the young girl goes through hiding a slave


Underground Railroad, Confederate, harboring, courage, empathy, slavery, escape, capture, shelter

Character Analysis:

The young girl shows compassion for the slave by keeping him as safe as she could and risking her life to bring him food while he was in hiding.


Why are the mom and girl looking at each other solemnly?
Why does the girl look worried?
Why is the girl running home?
How does the girl feel? Notice her body language and facial expression.
What is she thinking at the table?
Why is the girl sneaking out/in?
Why does she keep bringing him food?
Why does he not come out from the bushes?
How does she feel when the men come back?
Why did he leave her a stuffed person?
What is she thinking in bed?


Who do you think those men are?
What do you think the men were looking for?
Who do you think is in the bushes?
Do you think she will tell her parents?
What do you think would happen if she told her parents?
Do you think the men will find him when they come back?
Where do you think he went?