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Early Literacy

Early literacy is what children know about communication, language—verbal and non-verbal—reading and writing before they can actually read and write.

Reading Tip

One of the six early literacy skills is vocabulary — knowing the names of things. If you read picture books to children, you will expose them to words they would not hear in daily conversations with adults. 

Creepy Crawlies: Books


Angelina and the Butterfly by Katherine Holabird
When Angelina the mouse finds a pink butterfly with a twisted leg, she's determined to look after it and keep it forever until a surprising turn of events sets the butterfly free.

Angelina and the Butterfly

The Ant and the Grasshopper by Rebecca Emberley
In this version of the classic fable, a weary ant is energized by the swinging sounds of a grasshopper and his "buggy" band.

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner
A nonsense rhyme introduces children to familiar bugs. Includes a fun-facts-section.

Flowers are Calling by Rita Gray
Rhyming text explores the wonders of natural cooperation between flowers and the animals and insects of the forest.

Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope
Although she does not know why or how, a small creepy-crawly bug is certain that she must make her way to Mexico.

I Love Bugs! by Emma Dodd
Easy-to-read text celebrates the many kinds of bugs that can be found in a backyard.

I Saw An Ant in a Parking Lot by Joshua Prince
Dorothy Mott, a parking lot attendant, must think fast to save an ant who is looking for goodies right in the path of a minivan.

Step Gently Out: Poem by Helen Frost
Step gently out, be still and look closely at the world just outside your door - you are sure to be amazed by the tiny creatures you can find.

Summer Walk by Virginia Brimhill Snow
Ramble through the woods, as you join Grammy and her favorite grandkids on a summer walk. Illustrations and rhymes will guide readers as they learn to identify twenty-six different insects.

What’s Your Favorite Bug by Eric Carle
Everybody has a favorite bug. Some like shiny, colorful beetles or busy ants or soft pale moths best. With beautiful illustrations and charming personal stories, 15 children's book artists share their favorite bugs and why they love them.

You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Bees! by Alex Woolf
Describes what life would be like without bees.


Some non-fiction books may not be developmentally appropriate for every preschooler. You know your children—if any of the text is beyond where you think they are, you can still use the book by discussing the pictures and illustrations.

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner
Find out how bees talk to one another, what it takes to become a queen bee, what the life of a worker bee is like and more.

The Bee Book

Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
Peek through the holes in this bright and lively book, and discover the bustling life of a bee. Children will love discovering the big ways this little insect contributes to the beauty of the environment, from pollinating colorful flowers to buzzing about the bright and beautiful meadow.

Bugs by Penelope York
Bugs come in all shapes and sizes, and insects do amazing things - now your child can explore the fascinating world of bugs and creepy crawlies with pictures and games and interesting text.

Bugs! by Shira Evans
Information about and images of bugs, for beginner readers.

Bugs, Beetles and Butterflies by Harriet Ziefert
Simple, rhymed text and illustrations introduce many different kinds of bugs, beetles and butterflies, including the earwig, zebra butterfly and water strider.

Bugs for Lunch by Margery Facklam
Rhyming text introduces bug-eating animals such as geckos, trout or even people. Includes additional facts about each creature.

A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
Colorful illustrations and simple text describe the many characteristics of butterflies.

I Took a Walk by Henry Cole
A visit to woods, pasture and pond brings encounters with various birds, insects and other creatures of nature. Flaps fold out to reveal the animals on each two-page spread.

Insect Detective by Steve Voake
An enticing, fact-filled invitation to explore the world of insects. Includes hands-on activities.

Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons
Follow the transformation from a tiny white egg laid on a leaf to a brilliantly colored butterfly in this kid-friendly introduction to metamorphosis.

Creepy Crawlies: Songs and Rhymes

I’m A Hungry Spider
(Tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”)

I’m a hungry spider,
In my web.
Looking for treats that rhyme with (_____).
Can you find me a tasty treat?
Put it in my web. Let’s eat!

Can You Move With Me?

(Tune: “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”)
Can you wiggle like a worm?
Can you squiggle? Can you squirm?
Can you flutter? Can you fly like a gentle butterfly?
Can you crawl upon the ground,
Like a beetle that is round?
Can you move with me?

Can you flip? Can you flop?
Can you give a little hop?
Can you slither like a snake?
Can you give a little shake?
Can you dance like bee,
Who is buzzing round a tree?
Can you move with me?

A caterpillar crawled to the top of a tree. (crawl right index finger up the left arm like a caterpillar)
“I think I’ll take a nap,” said he. (wiggle right index finger)
So under the leaf he began to creep. (move right index finger under left hand)
He spun a chrysalis and he fell asleep. (make fist around index finger)
For a long time he slept in that chrysalis bed, (pretend to sleep)
Till spring came along and said,
“Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head.” (shake pointer)
Out of the leaf he did cry. (jump up with outstretched arms)
“Look, I am a butterfly.” (hook thumbs and spread fingers to make a butterfly)

Here is the Beehive
Here is the beehive, where are the bees? (make a fist with thumb enclosed)
Hidden away where nobody sees. (put other hand over the hive)
Watch and you’ll see them come out of the hive. (look at closed fist)
One, two, three, four, five… (count with your fingers)
Bzzzzzzz! (fingers flutter up)

A-Hunting We Will Go
(Tune: "A- Hunting We Will Go")
A-hunting we will go,
A -hunting we will go,
We'll catch a (insert any insect here),
And put it in a box.
And then we'll let it go! (loudly)

Eight Ants

One ant, two ants, three ants, four.
Our picnic is their grocery store.
Five ants, six ants, seven ants, eight.
They are crawling on my plate!

Eight ants, seven ants, stomp around.
Six ants, five ants, on the ground.
Four ants, three ants, on the run!
Two ants, one ant, no more fun!

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!
(Tune: “Frere Jacques”)

Big bugs, small bugs, big bugs, small bugs,
See them crawl. See them crawl.
Creeping, creeping, crawling, never, never falling,
Bugs, bugs, bugs! Bugs, bugs, bugs!
Thin bugs, fat bugs, thin bugs, fat bugs,
See them crawl, on the wall.
Creeping, creeping, crawling, never, never falling,
Bugs, bugs, bugs! Bugs, bugs, bugs!

Pretty Ladybug
(Tune: “The Muffin Man”)
Ladybug has 1 black spot,
1 black spot, 1 black spot;
Ladybug has 1 black spot,
Pretty ladybug!

Insects and Spiders Song
(Tune: “Wheels on the Bus”)

The bugs in the air fly up and down,
Up and down, up and down.
The bugs in the air fly up and down,
All through the day!
Additional verses:

The spiders on the bush spin a web....
The crickets in the field hop up and down...
The bees in the hive go buzz, buzz, buzz....

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