Zippy the Zebra Zooms Through the Zoo

Morgan Barrow

Emergent Literacy Lesson Design

Rational: This lesson will help students recognize the phoneme /z/ which is represented by the grapheme z.  Students will learn to listen for the phoneme /z/ by associating it with a hand gesture that signifies Zippy the zebra zooming past them.  They will also learn how to write the letter z.  This lesson will also allow student to learn how to listen for the sound in spoken words and recognize it in written words.




          Primary paper




          Dry erase board or chalkboard


Picture of a cartoon zebra (Zippy)


Chart with the tongue tickler "Zippy the Zebra Zooms through the Zoo" written on it.


Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! Random House, 1996, 24 pp.


Flashcards zoom, zip, and zany


Assessment worksheet with pictures of words that start with z (zebra, zipper, zoo) on it along with words that do not start with z (apple, cat, tree)




1. Say: "Today we are going to learn about a new letter."  Then write a z on the chalkboard.  "Can anyone tell me what letter this is?"  "That's correct.  It's a Z!"

2. "In order to listen for our new letter z we are going to meet Zippy the zebra.  Zippy the zebra likes to zoom through the zoo.  For us to show how fast he runs we are going to point to him as he zips past us, and we are going to make the /z/ sound."

3. "Watch and listen to me as I point at Zippy as he zooms through the zoom.  Did you feel how your mouth moves as you make that sound?  Now I want you to try it!"

4. Hold up the chart with "Zippy the zebra zooms through the zoo."  Read the tongue tickler aloud and draw out every /z/ sound while doing the hand motion.  "Zzzzippy the zzzzebra zzzzooms through the zzzzoo."

5. Have the class repeat the phrase and use the hand motion whenever they hear the /z/ sound.

6. Ask the students if they hear the /z/ sound in sip or zip, zany or rainy, zoom or boom, daze or dog, lucky or lazy.  Remind them to use the hand motion when they are answering.

7. Book talk: "Now we are going to read the z page in Dr Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book.  This page has the /z/ sound in it a lot of times, and I want y'all to listen really closely and see if y'all can hear all of them!"  Read the page through once and draw out the /z/ sound while using the hand motions.  "Now I want y'all to read it with me and show me Zippy zooming by whenever you hear the /z/ sound."

8. "Now we are going to learn how to write the letter z."  Either pass out primary paper or ask student to get a piece of primary paper and a pencil.  First model how to write an uppercase Z on the board by telling the students that, "The z zigs across the rooftop, zags down to the sidewalk, and zooms across the sidewalk to the right."  Have the students repeat this saying as they practice the uppercase Z with you.

9. Have the students write 10 uppercase Z's on their own will you walk around the room and examine their work.

10. Show student how to write a lower case z by saying it "Zigs across the fence, zags down to the sidewalk, and zooms across the sidewalk to the right."

11. Model writing the lower case z a few times, and then have students write it 10 times on their own.

12. "Now I am going to show you a few words, and I am going to ask if it is one of two words."  Show the words and ask, "Is this boom or zoom?"  "Is this slip or zip?" "Is this zany or rainy?"

13. To assess what the students have learned I will pass out a worksheet that has various pictures on it.  Some of the pictures will start with the letter z, and others will not.  I will tell the students that I want them to color all of the pictures that start with the letter z.




Rauschenberg, Cabray. "Zipping Through the Zoo with Zebra."


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