Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Best Pet

Barbara Northcutt
Sumter County Schools


Award winning, blue ribbon pets are fun! Read [Pet Show]. Have your students pick the "Best of Show" animal.


The student knows the names of the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lower case.

The student knows the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.

The student understands basic phonetic principles (for example, knows rhyming words; knows words that have the same initial and final sounds; knows which sound is in the beginning, middle, end of a word; blends individual sounds into words).

The student uses basic writing formats (for example, labels, lists, notes, captions, stories, messages).


-[Pet Show]. Keats, Ezra Jack. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.
-Chart Paper
-Pictures of individual pet show contestants
-For students: paper, pencil, crayons


1. Obtain a copy of the book [Pet Show] by Ezra Jack Keats. Prepare yourself to read the story to the children by determing what questions, if any, you will ask during the reading. Try to think of higher order questions to ask. For example: What will Archie do since he can't find his cat to enter in the pet show?
2. Locate pictures of the animals found in the story that can be pasted to the chart paper. You may already want to have the pictures pasted on the chart unless you want to find out how well students can recall the information from the story.
3. Prepare materials for students: paper, pencil, crayons.


Session 1

1. In the morning, prepare the students for the story by asking questions that recall prior knowledge and experience: Have you ever been to a pet show? What animal would be a prize-winning pet? Who saw the hog judging at the fair? What kind of ribbon does the best animal win? Who has a pet? Would you like to enter an animal in a pet show?

2. Read the story [Pet Show] by Ezra Jack Keats.

3. As you read the story, draw the children’s attention to the wide variety of animals that will be brought to the pet show.

4. At the conclusion of the story, see how many different animals the children can remember from the story.

5. Paste each animal’s picture to the chart paper as the name is remembered. Leave space next to or under each picture so that each animal may be labeled.

6. Start with the first picture. Ask for a volunteer to identify the animal and break apart the word into its individual sounds. Everyone counts the number of phonemes in the word. For example: dog /d/, /o/, /g/. Ask, “What sound is heard at the start of dog?”. Ask, “ What letter do we write to stand for the /d/ sound we hear in dog?”. Write the -d- on the chart paper by the picture of the dog. Ask, ”What sound do we hear in the middle of the word dog, or after the /d/ sound?”. Ask, “What letter do we write to stand for the /o/ sound?”. Write the letter o on the chart paper after the d. Ask, “What sound do we here at the end of the word dog?” Ask, “What letter to we write to stand for the /g/ sound in dog?”. Write the letter g on the chart paper after the do. Continue with some of the other animals from the story.

Session 2
7. Later on in the day, call the students together. Review the animals from the story by blending the sounds together to read the animal’s name.

8. Direct each child to pick which animal from the story [Pet Show] should receive the best of show ribbon. Children are to go to their group and draw and label the best pet of all. Remind children to break apart the animal’s name, to isolate each sound, and then write the letters down that stand for the sounds they hear in the word.

9. Children share which animal they think is the best pet of all with their groups.(Goal 3: Standard 2 Effective Communicators)


This is an ongoing formative assessment based on teacher observation of student interaction during the lesson.

Listen attentively to student responses to determine individual functioning levels. The goal is to assess each child’s ability to identify the individual phonemes, the graphemes that represent the phonemes, and the location of the letter, letter sound within a word.

Children who identify the correct phoneme/grapheme correspondence and the position within the word most of the time are working at an independent level.

Children who identify the correct phoneme and location but cannot identify the corresponding grapheme most of the time are working at an instructional level.

Children who cannot identify the correct phoneme and its location the majority of the time are at a deficit level and need remediation in phonemic awareness.

Also, conduct an ongoing formative assessment based on each child’s finished product. Mastery occurs if a pet from the story [Pet Show] has been drawn and/or labeled. Labels may be dictated to the teacher depending upon each child’s writing stage. More advanced students may omit the drawing and simply list animals. Writing stages may also be determined at this time though this is not the primary focus of this assessment.

For informational purposes, writing stages follow:
Drawing Stage: The child’s writing is done through the use of pictures.

Scribbling Stage: The child ‘s writing looks like a scribble.

Random Letter: The child’s writing has letters without any connection between the written letter and the sound a letter makes.

Developmental Writing Stage: The child’s writing is beginning to show phoneme/grapheme correspondence. There may or may not be proper spacing. The writing may not go from left to right.

Transitional Writing Stage: The child’s writing has words approximating the correct spelling of words.


At center time, allow students to use stencils to trace the animals from the story, [Pet Show], and then label them.

Students in the drawing and scribbling stage can dictate the animal names to the teacher who can add the text. Children may make animals out of clay and make signs for the figures. More advanced children may write a sentence for their stenciled figures.
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