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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

When you read aloud, get excited and model the fun of reading and playing with language. Don’t be afraid to act silly! Children will love it and will beg you to read a story again and again!

Ready, Set, Grow Plants: Books


Cows Can Moo! Can You?: All About Farms by Bonnie Worth
Join the Cat in the Hat as he spends a day on the farm with Mr. and Mrs. Greenbean. From dawn to dusk, kids will see cows being milked, chickens being fed, sheep being sheared, fields being tilled, fertilized, reaped, mowed, irrigated—and lots more.

Farm Animals by Joanne Mattern
Learn about farm animals.

I Like the Farm by Shelley Rotner
Children share what they like about the farm.

My Garden by Kevin Henkes
After helping her mother weed, water and chase the rabbits from their garden, a young girl imagines her dream garden complete with jellybean bushes, chocolate rabbits and tomatoes the size of beach balls.

Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre
Photographs of vegetables and rhyming text celebrate vegetables in all their colorful and tasty variety.

Up, Down and Around by Katherine Ayers
A garden produces a variety of edible plants, such as corn that grows up, onions that grow down and tomato vines that twine all around.

What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward
Seeds can be big or small, round or pointy and all sorts of colors. They can become flowers, trees, fruits or vegetables, and they grow all times of year, during spring, summer, fall and winter. But all seeds have one thing in common—inside each is a new plant life waiting to emerge. Depicts all kinds of seeds, from flowers and trees to fruits and vegetables.

A Year on the Farm by Sue Unstead
Follows the busy lives of Mr. and Mrs. Farmer on their farm throughout the seasons of the year, including turning over the soil in winter, caring for the baby animals born in spring, watering crops in the summer and harvesting apples and wheat in fall.

Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington
Zinnia plants a garden, eagerly waits for the plants to grow, sells the beautiful flowers, then gathers seeds to plant the following year.


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.

Apples A to Z by Margaret McNamara
An alphabet book doubles as a primer on apples and apple cultivation.

Apple Harvest

Apple Harvest by Calvin Harris
Simple text and photographs present an apple harvest in the fall.

Fresh Delicious: Poems From the Farmer’s Market by Irene Lathem
In these vivid poems, blueberries are flavor-filled fireworks, cucumbers are a fleet of green submarines in a wicker sea, lettuce tastes like butter and pepper and salt. This collection will inspire the imaginations of young readers, and show how poetry can be as fresh and delicious as the farmers market produce it celebrates.

From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! by Felicia Chernesky
A realistic account of how apple cider is pressed, flavored with the charm and vigor of a harvest celebration.

The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons
An inviting, information-packed cornucopia of favorite fruits. Learn fruit facts galore: The parts of fruits, where and how they grow, harvesting, processing, where to buy them and how to enjoy them as part of a healthy diet.

Pick, Pull, Snap!: Where Once a Flower Bloomed by Lola Schaefer
Describes how raspberries, peanuts, corn and other foods are produced as various plants flower, create seeds and finally bear fruit.

Watch Me Grow!: A Down-to-Earth Look at Growing Food in the City by Deborah Hodge
Examines gardens in the city and other places to grow food, herbs and to raise animals.

What’s in the Garden? by Marianne Berkes
Learn about vegetables and fruits growing in the garden, and how to use them in simple recipes.

Ready, Set, Grow Plants: Songs and Rhymes

Dig a Little Hole
Dig a little hole, (pretend to dig)
Plant a little seed, (drop seed)
Pour a little water, (pour)
Pull a little weed. (pull up and throw away)
Chase a little bug, (chasing motion)
Heigh-ho, there he goes! (shade eyes)
Give a little sunshine, (make sun with hands over head)
Grow a little rose. (smell flower, eyes closed)

Watch it Bloom
Here is a green leaf, (hold out one palm)
And here is a green leaf, (hold out other palm)
That, you see, makes two, (hold up two fingers)
Here is a bud, (cup hand together)
That makes it a flower, (slowly open hands)
Watch it bloom for you. (hold open hands out)

Relaxing Flowers
Five little flowers, (hold up five fingers)
Standing in the sun. (make sun over head with hands)
See their heads nodding. (make fingers nod)
Bowing, one by one. (make fingers bow)
Down, down, down, (flutter fingers down)
Falls the gentle rain. (flutter fingers down)
And the five little flowers, (hold up five fingers)
Lift up their heads again! (wiggle fingers)

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

The Seed
(Tune: "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star")
I'm a little planted seed, (point thumb at self)
See the rain falling on me. (wiggle fingers down like raindrops)
Sunshines down through the trees, (hold hands up in circle)
These are all the things I need indeed. (nod head)
Oh, how happy they make me, (pointers point to smiling face)
I'm a little growing seed. (point thumb to self)

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