using Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt in speech therapy

Frequent Speech Sounds:

​/g/ initial
/d/ medial
/ar/ medial
/er/ medial



Book Details:

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

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

By Kate Messner

A companion to the new Over and Under the Pond and the beloved Over and Under the Snow, this sweet exploration of the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year “could not be more lovely,” according to the Washington Post. Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. In this exuberant and lyrical book, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves…and down in the dirt.

This inviting spring book can be used in speech therapy to address grammar including adjectives and action verbs. It is also great for  and for targeting figurative language and sounds including: ​/g/ initial, /d/ medial, /ar/ medial and /er/ medial! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

descriptive sequence 

Narrative Concepts:

illustration study
figurative language
phonological awareness
verbs (action)​
verbs (present tense)
repetitive text
facts about each animal found at the end


list of how each person, plant or animal changes with the seasons


garden, seeds, earthworms, insects, soil, brittle, stalks, weeds, squabble, compost, armor, furrow, snuggle, sprout, pollen, tunnel, aphids, scrumptious, harvesting, orb, litter, frantic, burrow, autumn, tremble, ripe, hunkered, biding, bare, blanketing

Figurative Language:

personification (melt the sleepy snow, mud sucks at my rain boots, wind whistles, pumpkins blush orange and sunflowers bow to September, frost draws lace on leftover leaves, cornstalks tremble)


verbs (action)​
verbs (present tense)

Text Features:

repetitive text

Phonological Awareness:


If you are interested in using Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt in speech therapy, then check out the book companion with the full lesson plans and activities.

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