Fairy Tales in Speech Part 2: Hansel & Gretel and The Three Little Pigs

Last week I talked about why I use fairy tales, this week I want to show you some of the specific activities I did with Hansel and Gretel and The Three Little Pigs.  I only saw a few students this summer so I didn’t need to incorporate as many goals as I would need to during the school year.  The primary targets I had in mind were:

  • retelling a simple story sequence
  • answering simple wh- comprehension questions during a story
  • recognizing thoughts and feelings from illustrations and verbal descriptions in a story
  • using she/he appropriately
  • producing multisyllabic words in sentences

I start our session with the story itself–though more particularly the cover.  Is this a story they already know? What clues is the cover giving us that let’s us guess what might happen.

As I read, I stop frequently.  I point out the expressions on the characters’ faces.  “How do you think the stepmother feels here?”  “When she speaks meanly to Hansel, how does it make Hansel feel?  How can we tell?”

I might also ask them to retell just a small snippet of the story.  “So, what happened when they woke up in the woods?”

And I’m constantly asking questions to make sure they are following the story line.  “Who got left in the woods?”  “Who lives in the candy cottage?”

Once the story is over, it’s their turn to tell me the story. Depending on the age and ability of the student I tailor my expectations.  Retelling might look like:

  • my summarizing the story while the child acts it out with puppets, dolls or other manipulatives
  • allowing the student to use the book to “read” to me (re-telling with visual prompts)
  • having the student sequence pictures and then re-tell the story
  • allowing the student to re-tell me the story in their own words with no visual prompts

For Hansel and Gretel, I have a cardboard set with a fabulous candy castles and characters.  It’s lots of fun to act out with this set! (Though getting the house itself set-up is a bit of a hassle.)

For The Three Little Pigs, I have a plush set that sets up in a jiffy.  I love this!  There are also clues on the play mat that you can use to figure out where each house should go (extra bricks and a trowel, for example).

I also have a Three Little Pigs game.  Very exciting!

One of my biggest hits for working on pronouns involved making Hansel and Gretel characters out of tennis balls.  I used a little box of flat marbles and we snuck in some categorization too by prompting, “Time for breakfast!  What will Gretel eat?”

Then we’d say things like, “She eats cereal (in goes a marble). She eats bacon (in goes another).”  You get the idea.  This is also a helpful activity for little ones who need to work on flexible thinking since you need to imagine that the marbles are representing foods.

I like to send home projects when I can, but I don’t like them to take up time in speech unless they are really targeting something specific.  Because this was a slightly older student and it wasn’t as easy to tie in some natural multisyllabic words with this book/craft, I dropped in clip art of our targets.  He used an assortment of materials–basket filler, mini wooden dowels, self-adhering foam rectangles–to make houses for each of the three pigs.

Feel free to share some of your favorite activities for either of these stories.  I’d love to hear!  And, by the way, if you follow my on Instagram, your very likely to see some of this activities in action in real time.  Also, next week I’ll be send copies of my scaffold stories for fairy tales, but only to subscribers!  If you haven’t joined yet, please do! (And while you’re waiting you’ll have access to my free resource closet).



The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.