Bring Children’s Lit into Therapy with “The Apple Pie Tree”

Zoe Hall’s book, “The Apple Pie Tree” is a story that talks about what happens to and around an apple tree throughout the year and ends with the children baking an apple pie.  It is also a great book to work on a variety of speech and language skills.  Here are some ideas to use it in therapy.


1. /p/ sound:  pie, petals, papa, peel, picked, pan, pile, apple(s), open, top

2. /b/ sound: bare, bee, but, building, buds, baby, birds,  big, bend, basket, Robin(s),

3. Blends: grow, brown, spring, branch, tree, flower, break, blossoms, breeze, blow, ground, fly, strong, small, brim, sprinkle, smells, taste,


1. Plurals: There are many opportunities to work on plurals. E.g., Robin/Robins  Looking at the illustrations and talking about the pictures to work on plurals.  

2. Verbs and verb tenses: grow, watch, build, chirp, guard, open, break, cover, blow, fall, teach, fly, rain, visit, bend, cover, pick, help, cut, pile, sprinkle, cook, eat, smell, and taste. Ask what is happening in the story or have the children act it out in play to build understanding and use of verbs. 

3. Describing the illustrations:  Many of the pictures include items/ideas that are not talked about explicitly in the text.  For example, they talk about summer and show children playing in a sprinkler.   This would also be great to start to work on inferencing.

4. Sequencing: There are many great opportunities to describe sequences.  The book talks about the change in seasons.  It talks about the life cycle of Robins.  It talks about the life cycle of an apple, and it also shares a recipe for how to make apple pie.  Additionally, the back of the book has a section where they talk about how bees pollinate flowers. 

Supplemental Activities

1. Sensory Bins:  Make a sensory bin out of oats, flour, apple pie spice, cinnamon sticks,  and real/fake/counting apples.  Add in measuring cups, measuring spoons, muffins tins, and spoons.  Have children pretend to make apple pie.  Use some of the vocabulary from the book.  Note: if you have students that are gluten-free or are allergic to any ingredients from the sensory bin, please do not add them. 

2. Make Apple Pie: There is an apple pie recipe at the back of the book that you can make with the students.  You can also use tart shells so that everyone’s dietary restrictions can be accommodated.  Talk about the steps you need to do to make the pie.  Focus on verbs, use many that are in the story.  When the pies are done, talk about the pie’s smell and the pie’s taste. 

3. Make a large apple tree out of paper:  Hang it up on a wall and add apples for the children to pick.  Add different colour and size apples for children to work on following directions. Alternatively, go through the year with the tree starting with snow, then flowers, then leaves, then apples, then leaves falling.  

4. Have children sort objects by seasons.  Sort a variety of objects by when you see them/use them during the different seasons.  For a season sorting file folder and class activity visit here.

5. Watch videos with time-lapsed video of a life cycle of an apple tree. Talk about what the children see.  Have the children answer questions about the video.

6. Have children plant apple seeds in a clear cup.  Have the take of their plants.  Have them make observations on regular intervals.

These are some of my ideas.  How would you use this book?

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