There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

Title: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

Author: Lucille Colandro

Description: Another version of the little old lady who swallowed a fly, but with a holiday theme.


  • Sequencing
  • Story retell
  • Early Prediction
  • Phonological Awareness (Rhyming)
  • Speech Production (s-blends, /sw/)

Why I like this book: There is something about this crazy old lady that kids seem to love. It always gets a reaction, and therefore some discussion, and participation.

Ideas for this book:

  • Create Boardmaker or google image pictures to help children sequence the story as you read, and/or for retelling the story after it’s complete. Encourage temporal markers such as first, then, next, after that, last. Another website (Making Learning offers the pictures already made here.
  • Have students make guesses as to what she may swallow next. Encourage them to use the previous clues to make a guess (i.e. what could she do put all of the objects in?)
  • Stress the rhyming words and/or provide the first sound and see if they can “fill in” the remaining sounds. Can they generate additional words that rhyme with each pair (bell/tell, weigh/sleigh)? Can use our Talking Train app. Put one of the words on the initial engine car. Can they generate additional words in the remaining 3 cars? Generate words that start with the same sound? Great to also pair with the What Rhymes? App, or Pocket Phonics App.
  • Given the repetitive story line, there is lots of opportunity for word or sentence level /sw/ blends (i.e. swallowed)
  • Reinforce contextual “why” questions. Why did she swallow the bell? Why did she swallow the sac?, etc.
  • Have kids create their own, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a X. Would be great for reasoning skills, rhyming and story generation. You could use Story Patch app to make this story and even email the story home to share with parents. This could be a great “group” project.
  • There is a cute craft idea here. A teacher shared the idea of using a zip lock baggie as the lady’s belly, and filled the baggie with the various objects (pictures) that she swallows (candy cane, bells, etc.)

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

Please support books4all and order this book from  Thank you!

*Like this review and activities? Check out the Social Adventures App for more activities for children.