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Speech in the Schools

Book It, Pt. 21: The Alphabet Comes to the Rescue

Published January 30, 2012 9:30 AM by Sean Sweeney

Books continue to be my heroes in my school position, sometimes showing up to save me from ennui when I least expect it. I was recently doing a pull-over sort of session in the literacy center (the kindergarten class is nearby and my room is, well, not), and spied the colorful cover of Alphabet Rescue, by Audrey Wood and her son, Bruce. After I perused this fun little book, it became the centerpiece of many sessions with young'uns recently. It addresses many and varied goals!


The book relates the story of a lowercase alphabet who goes on vacation (its owner does, too - he's been working all year on learning to read and write, and needs a break) to Alphabet City, where they begin a quest to be community helpers! After an incident with an uncontrollable fire hose and a dressing down by the capital letters, the lowercases decide to rehab an old fire engine, which leads to some fun adventures. 

This book seems made for SLPs, as it has so many uses:

-The book can be used to develop retelling skills and can be retold at the Action Sequence or Complete Episode Level (the actions in the book seem particularly geared to sketching, and kids can work on letter formation in the process).

-The text cleverly connects the characters (letters!) to dialogue and events in the story, such that the "e" shouts "Excellent!" etc. Similarly, the letters M, U, and D get mired with a muddy car, and C A and T get stuck in a tree. These connections provide great opportunities to work on phonological awareness.

-My favorite page in the book is when the letters begin to overhaul the old fire engine. The array of activity shows (but doesn't tell about) the letters all obtaining an item that is useful in the process: b brings a bell, s gets a seat, etc. You could spend a whole session working with kids on naming the different items and describing their functions.

-Finally, I realized that Alphabet Rescue pairs really well with apps about community helpers, particularly Buildo Rescue and 2BME Firefighter, thus extending the context of the book to apps that can be used to work on speech and language objectives!

Read more of Sean Sweeney at


Check out the book titled:  Books are for Talking  for excellent suggestions for therapy.

Jan, SLP February 27, 2012 6:48 AM
Lake Jackson TX

Have you read the book "The Letters are Lost"?  It's another good one that your students might enjoy.  I can't remember the name of the author.

Laurie, , SLP public school February 3, 2012 12:20 AM
La Center WA

Audrey and Bruce Wood have a lot of nice picture books! I've always enjoyed, "Ten Little Fish."

Valerie Lill January 30, 2012 7:52 PM

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About this Blog

    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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