Zipping Through the Zoo with Zebra


Emergent Literacy Design

Cabray Rauschenberg


Rationale: This lesson will help teach children the /z/ sound for the grapheme z. Students will learn to recognize the phoneme sound of /z/ when they hear it and associate it to a bee flapping his wings as he flies. Students will learn how to write it. It also provides opportunities to pick the sound out by seeing and hearing the grapheme and phoneme.



Primary Paper


Marker board or chalkboard

Chart with "Zany Zachery Zeke zigzags through the zoo to see the zebra." The Z Was Zapped By Chris Van Allsburg

Flashcards with "zipper", "zoo", and "zest"

Assessment worksheet with pictures on it



1. Say: We are going to learn a new letter today. Write z on the board. Who knows what letter this is? Z, that's right. The letter z zigzags down.

2. We're going to look at what our mouth does when we say the letter z. Put your teeth together open your mouth like you are smiling with all your teeth showing. The /z/ sound is what a bee makes as it flies and flaps its wings together. So when we make the /z/ sound, we are going to flap our wings.

3. Have class make /z/ sound through their teeth while flapping their wings. Ask: did you notice how your mouth moves as your make the /z/ sound?

4. Hold up chart with "Zany Zachery Zeke zigzag through the zoo to see the zebra." Read the tongue twister aloud and draw out each /z/ sound: "ZZZZany ZZZZachery ZZZZeke zzzzzigzzzzzag through the zzzzzoo to see the zzzzebra."

5. Have class repeat the phrase with you while drawing out the /z/ sound. Be sure to flap your wings whenever you hear the /z/ sound!

6. Ask students if they hear the /z/ sound in "tip" or "zip"? "zoo" or "who"? "zany" or "brainy"? "haze" or "fog"? "crazy" or "calm"? "fidget" or "cozy"? Don't forget to flap your wings!

7. Pull out The Z Was Zapped By Chris Van Allsburg. Explain that each letter has something happen to it. Turn to the last page that has the z on it. Ask the children what could have happened to it that has the /z/ sound.

8. Now it is time to learn how to write a z. Pass out a piece of primary paper to each student. Demonstrate on the marker board how to write it. Tell the students that the top line of the primary paper is the rooftop, the middle dotted line is the fence, the bottom line is the sidewalk, and below the line is the ditch. First model how to write an uppercase Z on the board.  Explain that you zig across the rooftop, zag down to the sidewalk, and zig back to the right.  Tell the students to repeat this saying along with you while you all make uppercase Z's on your paper.

9. Have each student write it 10 times while I come around to inspect.

10. Explain that the little z is the same way only it starts at the fence and zags down to the sidewalk.

11. Demonstrate and then observe as they write a lowercase z 10 times.

12. "Now, I am going to show you a word. I am going to ask you if it's one of two words." Show the word: zipper. Ask if it is "slipper" or "zipper"? ZOO: "zoo" or "boo"? ZAG: "zag" or "bag"

13. Hold up a picture of a car and a zebra. Ask students which pictures starts with a z.

14. For assessment, have worksheet with pictures of z words (i.e. zipper, zoo, zero, zebra, etc.) and pictures of words that do NOT start with z (apple, tree, car, etc.). Have students color in the pictures that start with a z.



Hardin, Melinda. "Zig, Zag, and Zooming to the Zoo".

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