The following is an original story, published by Stanley Ainsworth in 1946 as part of Galloping Sounds, a little book featuring several stories loaded with specific phonemes for articulation practice. This story is loaded with "s" sounds and was probably written for Ainsworth's daughter Susan.


Susie Q was a pretty little girl. Her real name was Susan, but she was called Susie as a nickname. Her daddy added the Q because he said her name should be Susie Questionmark, for no one ever knew what she would do next! "Susie Questionmark" was much too long a name for such a little girl, so they all called her Susie Q.

Such things she did! Sometimes they made her parents angry and sometimes sad. Almost always, the things she did made them laugh. Susie Q did so many funny things! Once, she was playing at the house of her best friend. She slid down the cellar door. The door had a little nail in it and tore her dress, and she had to walk all the way home holding her hand over that torn spot in her dress. In the Spring, when everything was wet, she came home soaking wet from slipping into mud puddles.

But this story is about what happened to Susie Q one winter. There had been a big snow storm the night before, and the ground was covered deeply with fresh, white snow. Susie Q decided that it was time for her to learn to ski. Since it was still Christmas vacation she did not have to go to school, so Susie found the skis that Santa Claus had brought her. She laid them carefully in the snow.

"That's funny," she said to herself. "I thought there were some straps to stick my feet in, but I don't see any."

Then, she noticed. The skis were upside down! She carefully turned each one over and stuck her feet through the straps. There, they looked all right, so Susie started to go. Start is all Susie did! One foot went ahead all right, but the other ski stuck into the snow and stopped.

"My goodness, what's the matter now?" she thought.

She tried to stand on one foot and lift up the other ski to see what was wrong. That is so hard to do on skis. Just as she lifted up the ski that had stuck in the snow, the other one slipped out from under her, and down she went! While slipping, she found out what was wrong - the one ski was on backward! You must remember that Susie Q was just a very little girl and had never worn skis before.

At last, the skis were straightened out and Susie Q was standing up. This time, she was very careful. She pushed one foot ahead slowly - then the other - and in a few seconds she was moving along.

"This isn't so hard," thought Susie.

About this time, she came to the front of the lawn. Just before the lawn reached the sidewalk, it sloped down a little, just enough to make a short, steep hill. Susie was getting along fine. She was doing so well that she turned her head a little to see if anyone was watching how well she could ski. It was just then she neared the top of the steep little hill. Susie Q saw her mother standing in the window, and stretched out her arm to wave. ZIP! The skis shot down the hill. Susie's feet went much faster than her head. Of course, when your feet go faster than your head, there is only one thing to do - and Susie did just that. She flopped! Her feet and skis scooted out from under her, and she slid to the bottom of the hill on the back of her neck.

Susie Q decided to try the same hill again. Since she had fallen backward the first time, this time she leaned forward, but she tipped too soon and too far. The skis did not start as soon as she did, and Susie slid down the hill on her nose!

The only thing to do, was to find a hill that was not so steep. In the backyard, there was a long, easy sloping hill. She was sure that she would not go too fast on this hill.

After some spills and tumbles, Susie Q reached the top of the backyard slope. She stopped and looked over the ground. At the bottom was a tree. Susie started down in another direction. It was a nice, easy slope, so she went very slowly. She stared at the snow just ahead of her skis and carefully kept her balance. As she got half way down the hill, she went a little faster, but still she stood up.

"Why, this is easy when you know how to do it!" smiled Susie Q. She was getting along so well that she looked ahead a little bit. Oh! Oh, dear! She was going straight for the tree at the bottom!

"How do you stop these things?" cried Susie.

While she was trying to stop the skis, her legs started to spread. The skis slipped farther and farther apart. Susie forgot the tree and tried to bring the skis closer together. Then she thought about the tree again - and the skis began to spread once more. Suddenly, there was the tree - right in front of her! Her legs were so far apart that one ski went to one side of the tree and the other ski went on the other side. Susie Q went in the middle - Kerplunk! She stopped. She had smacked into the tree and had thrown her arms around it to keep from falling down.

Just then, her brother Sam came along.

"What are you hugging that icy old tree for, anyway?" he asked. "Oh, keep still," snapped Susie. She had been going slowly enough so that the bump had not hurt, but she was very angry. As she took off her skis to walk up the hill, she said to herself, "Next time, I am going to choose a hill without any trees."

It was after many more bumps and tumbles, but Susie learned to ski.

added January 1, 2007 with permission of Sue Ainsworth Jennings, daughter of Stanley Ainsworth