Book of the Week: There’s a Zoo in Room 22

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

There’s a Zoo in Room 22, by Judy Sierra

By this point in the year, I thought you might be getting close to exhausting your “beginning-of-the-year-school-story” collection, so here’s another one to use. This text has the added benefit of being a book of poetry, so you can spread out the poems throughout the next few weeks, or even the next few months (there are 26 poems — one for each letter of the alphabet). It’s also excellent for teachers helping students build a poetry anthology to use throughout the year.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:


  • Use beginning and ending sounds. Many of the words that are the rhyming words in the poems are more than one syllable. Talk about how anticipating the word ending can cut your work in half — now you only need to decode the front part of the word.
  • Trade a word / guess a word that makes sense. This really goes along with using beginning and ending sounds, but it adds an additional challenge because most of the words you’re guessing aren’t simple rhymes, but multi-syllable words.



  • Reread text. These poems don’t have the quick-hit rhyming scheme of Dr. Seuss, so it may take several readings to get the rhythm right. Include these poems in your students’ reading anthologies so they can continue to refine their oral fluency.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!


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