The Snail and the Whale

Author: Julia Donaldson

Longing to see the world, a tiny snail hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. Together they go on an amazing adventure – but when the whale gets beached, what will the snail do? Follow the tiny snail’s exciting journey around the world…

Here are my top The Snail and the Whale activities you can do with your child to help support his/her speech & language development:

1. Due to the number of rhyming words in this story it makes it the perfect opportunity to work on your child’s awareness of rhyming words. When you initially read the book, you can place an emphasis on the rhyming words on each page.

For example, on the first page you could say:

“This is a tale of a tiny snail
and a great big, grey-blue humpback whale
This is a rock as black as soot,
and this is a snail with an itchy foot.

On your second and third readings of the story you can point out the rhyming words as you come across them e.g. “Listen. ‘dock’ sounds like ‘rock’. ‘dock’ and ‘rock’ rhyme. The end of the words sound the same”.

I’ve made a rhyming game for you to play with your child based on the words in the book. Print the FREE resource below and cut up the pictures. Encourage your child to find the words that rhyme. You can explain to them that you are looking for words that sound the same at the end, but remind them that these words might not be spelt the same.

When your child is consistently able to recognise the rhyming words in the story you can then encourage him or her to come up with a word. You can say “Can you think of another word that rhymes with ‘foot’ and ‘put’?”.

2. Due to the clear sequence of events throughout this story it makes it the perfect story to work on your child’s narrative/story telling skills.

Encourage your child to tell you what happened in the story focusing on the following elements: 

  • who?
  • What doing?
  • What?
  • Where?

I’ve included some FREE pictures that you can use to remind your child of elements from the story.

3. Pan Macmillan Publishers have produced these wonderful colouring/ activity sheets for you to do with your child. You can turn these into language activities by printing a copy for both you and your child and giving each other instructions to follow e.g. “fold the paper in half” “colour the teacher’s hair blue”. This will support your child to give and follow instructions containing multiple steps

I hope you and your child love this story as much as I do. I’d love to know which of the activities you enjoyed the most, please let me know in the comments below.

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