Language activities with the Good Night, Gorilla book

Language activities with the Good Night, Gorilla book

Books are a great way of encouraging language and reading in children. Books help children learn new vocabulary, and help them with imaginative play as they can act out the story they read or heard.

The Good Night, Gorilla book by Peggy Rathmann is a wordless book that provides unlimited language opportunities for children.  Children can learn and practice the following:

Vocabulary : Zoo, zookeeper, gorilla, elephant, lion, giraffe, armadillo, hyena, mouse, cage, rope, bike, tire, thread, flashlight, night, keys, nightgown,  dark, floor, curtain, bed, lamp, rug, yard, trees, follow, scream, etc.

Phrases: Gorilla in. Gorilla hold. Gorilla open. Gorilla walk. Elephant sit. Etc.

Sentence Structure: The gorilla has keys. The gorilla opened the cage. The mouse holds a banana. The zookeeper has a flashlight. Etc.

Answering questions:

What is the gorilla holding?

Where is the gorilla? Where is the elephant?

What is the zookeeper holding?

How is the mouse carrying a banana?

Who is holding a flashlight?

What toys do you see inside the elephant’s cage? Etc.

Discussions and drawing conclusions:

Why do you think the gorilla opened all the cages?

Why are the animals following the zookeeper to his house?

How did the mouse get the banana from this tall banana tree?

Why do you think the zookeeper didn’t realize that the animals are following him?

Why was zookeeper’s wife screaming?

Why did the wife of the zookeeper take all the animals back to the zoo?

Why can’t zoo or jungle animals live with people?

How do we know it is night?

What would you do if the zoo animals followed you home?

If you could pick one zoo animal to take home, which one would you pick and why?


Before moving to the next page, ask the child what might happen next?

Story Telling:

Ask a child to come up with their own version of the story by looking at pictures.

Extension activities:

Gather a few jungle animals and act out the story or make up your own.

Practice your targeted language concepts or vocabulary by playing with the jungle animals in the following scenarios:

-          Pretend to be a zookeeper and care for the animals by giving them a pretend bath, feeding them, and taking care of their health. With this activity, one can work on imaginary play, following directions (e.g., give an apple to the elephant, etc.), and answering questions.

-          Hide the animals in the room and have the child find them and state where the animals were hiding.

-          Put the animals inside the transparent box and describe what animal the child should take outside for a walk, such as “Get the animal with a long neck out of the box,” etc.

-          Put the animals in the box covered with a scarf or a light blanket (“to create night”) and have the child use the flashlight to find and name animals or describe them to you.





Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP

Beata Klarowska is an American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified speech and language pathologist, licensed by the state of California.Beata cofounded Virtual Speech Center Inc. in 2011 and, to date, has developed more than 30 apps for speech, language, and cognition.


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