speech and language teaching concepts for Good Night, Gorilla in speech therapy​ ​
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/z/ initial (zoo, zookeeper)
/g/ initial (gorilla)
/n/ initial (night)
/r/ medial (gorilla, giraffe)
/l/ medial (gorilla and balloon)
/k/ medial (zookeeper)
/er/ final (zookeeper)​



Book Details:
Diverse Characters: N/A
Age Recommendation: Early Childhood

Goodnight, Gorilla

By Peggy Rathmann

Good night, Gorilla.
Good night, Elephant.

It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?
Good night, Giraffe.
Good night, Hyena.

This fun, wordless zoo-themed early childhood book can be used in speech therapy to notice sequencing and predicting. With its repetitive text, it can be great for increasing MLU and engaging young readers. It is also great for targeting /g/, /z/, /l/, /n/, and many more! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Good Night, Gorilla in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode (inferred since it is wordless, Gorilla wants to sleep in the Zookeeper’s bed)
nearly wordless

Narrative Concepts:

illustration study
character analysis
repetitive text
WH questions (who, what, and where)
spatial concepts (in, out, behind, in front)


order of telling the animals good night


good night, gorilla, zoo, elephant, zookeeper, house

Character Analysis:

Gorilla is being sneaky. He steals the zookeeper’s keys and tiptoes behind the zookeeper while he says “good night” to the gorilla’s animal friends. The gorilla, then proceeds to quietly let out each animal friend and they all follow the zookeeper quietly back to his bedroom. Later, the wife returns the animals back to the zoo, but somehow the gorilla manages to escape again and sneak his way back into the zookeeper’s bedroom and falls asleep. He seems to have a friendship with the zookeeper and his wife due to the photo on their bedside table. He also has a friendship with mouse who is always by gorilla’s side.


WH questions (who, what, and where)

here are a few examples:
Who is following the gorilla?
What is the gorilla holding?
Where is gorilla sleeping?

spatial concepts (in, out, behind, in front)
negation (discuss who is NOT in the cage, who does NOT belong, etc.)

Text Features:

speech bubbles
size of text
repetitive text


Why do you think Gorilla has his finger up to his lips?
Why do you think the zookeeper is tiptoeing?
Where do zoo animals belong?
Are the animals supposed to sleep in the zookeeper’s room?
How do you think the animals feel about going back to the zoo?


What animal will the zookeeper tell “good night” to next?
Where are the animals following the zookeeper to?
Do you think the zookeeper will discover the animals?
How do you think the zookeeper and his wife will feel if they see the animals in their room?
Where is the zookeeper’s wife taking the animals?

If you are interested in using Goodnight, Gorilla in speech therapy, then check out the book companion with the full lesson plans and activities.