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Early Vocabulary Storybooks A Visit to the Zoo
Ages: 3-7   Grades: PreK-2

Teach vocabulary, phonological awareness, and language skills within the context of a delightful story.  Top-quality illustrations and surprising turns in the story keep children glued to the pages! 


  • Build literacy, comprehension, and expressive language
  • Learn vocabulary that expands expression, learning, and reading comprehension
  • Connect words with concepts
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The story introduces common and not-so-common vocabulary words like exclaim, incredible, visitors, and migrate.  Seven pages of ready-to-use activities with storybook quality illustrations let you easily direct learning.  Children build vocabulary as they hear and use the vocabulary in new contexts and interact with the words repeatedly.  The illustrated activities include:

  • vocabulary definitions and examples
  • application of vocabulary to current knowledge
  • phonological awareness tasks (syllable awareness, rhyming, initial sounds)
  • questions to help children conceptualize new vocabulary
  • semantic applications (synonyms, antonyms)
  • social language applications (inferring, perspective-taking)

A Visit to the Zoo may be purchased individually or as part of the Early Vocabulary Storybooks 6-book set.  The set consists of:

Prince Maja and the Dragon—A surprise cookie ingredient tricks a ferocious, fire-breathing dragon and saves Prince Maja's kingdom.  Teach words like dull, ruler, thud, ingredients, and more.

Casey's Grumpy Day—Casey chameleon camouflages himself throughout the day.  Can your students find him in the pictures?  Teach words like adventure, disguises, lizard, obvious, and more.

A Visit to the Zoo—Talking animals at the zoo help children surprise their teacher.  Vocabulary words include announcement, chuckled, dangerous, predators, and more.

An Interesting Ride—Cleo gets her wish when an unusual pet joins her on the bus ride to school.  Teach words like glance, imagine, pretend, stare, and more.

Meals for Kids—Everyone at the restaurant is excited when Audrey adds foods like Deli Dino and Swamp Juice to the children's menu.  The vocabulary words include dessert, menu, scrumptious, spectacular, and more.

Community Helpers Disappear—Why are community helpers disappearing one-by-one?  Help Max solve the mystery!  Teach words like firefighter, librarian, principal, vanish, and more. 

Copyright © 2011

16 8 1/2" x 11" coated pages, activities
  • Vocabulary knowledge is strongly correlated to reading comprehension proficiency and school achievement.  Children who start school with poorly developed vocabulary skills will remain academically behind their peers without robust instruction (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).
  • Reading aloud and including discussion and questions about the story are effective teaching strategies to developing language and vocabulary skills in preschoolers (Schwanenflugel, Neuharth-Pritchett, Blake, Hamilton, & Restrepo, 2003).
  • Elaborating vocabulary instruction by using tasks like comparing, identifying the core meaning, and linking the word to previous experience are a few of the methods proven to teach vocabulary skills to children (Ellis, 2002).
  • Teaching new vocabulary definitions is an ineffective way for students to grasp the meaning (Buehl, 2005).

The Early Vocabulary Storybooks A Visit to the Zoo incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford Press.

Buehl, D. (2005). Fully grasping 'tier 2' words. The Reading Room. Retrieved from

Ellis, E. (2002). The clarifying routine: Elaborating vocabulary instruction. LD Online. Retrieved from

Schwanenflugel, P.J., Neuharth-Pritchett, S., Blake, J., Hamilton, C., & Restrepo, M.A. (2003). Phonological awareness and vocabulary enhancement experiment in preschool literacy. Odyssey: New Directions in Deaf Education, 5, 6-13.


Rosemary Huisingh


Rosemary Huisingh, M.A., SLP, has been a speech-language pathologist since 1970 and co-owner, co-founder, and researcher for LinguiSystems since 1977.  She is the proud mother of three amazing daughters Beth, Megan, and Carrie who was the inspiration for several of the stories.


Your students will be exposed to common and some not-so-common words in these Early Vocabulary Storybooks.  They can and they will learn these unfamiliar words with repeated readings and your excellent instruction.  Thanks for all you do for children with language impairments.