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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

Make reading with your child a part of your daily routine. Establishing a routine helps ensure that reading is part of your daily schedule, such as at naptime and bedtime. It also creates times during the day that both of you can look forward to.

Counting: 1, 2, 3: Books

Bird Watch by Christie Matheson
Count backward from ten while searching for hidden birds (and insects and animals) in this seek-and-find picture book.

Bird watch

From 1 to 10 by Mies van Hout
A counting book for young children featuring illustrations of animals with countable traits, such as the arms of an octopus or the whiskers of a cat.

Henry the Fourth by Stuart Murphy
A simple story about four dogs at a dog show introduces the ordinal numbers: first, second, third and fourth.

How Many? by Christopher Danielson
This innovative book encourages critical thinking and sparks memorable mathematical conversations through counting all kinds of things. You have many choices and the longer you look, the more possibilities you'll notice. There are no wrong answers in this book. As long as you're talking about what you see, think and wonder, you're talking math.

How to Two by David Soman
A child's solitary day at the playground turns into a park-wide adventure as he learns how to play with nine new friends.

Now What?: A Math Tale by Robie Harris
Solve a problem with Puppy and a bag full of blocks in this gentle introduction to early math concepts. Puppy wants to build a bed out of blocks, one that is wide enough and long enough for a snooze. But there aren't enough rectangles, squares and triangles. Follow along as Puppy finally figures out how blocks of different shapes and sizes can fit together to build a bed that's just the right size for a nap.

One is a Pinata by Roseanne Thong
In rhyming text, Hispanic children count the things, like pinatas and maracas, that can be seen in their neighborhood.

One Snowy Day by Diana Murray
Spinning and twirling, they float to the ground―millions of snowflakes not making a sound. The house is still quiet and still nearly dark, when ONE playful puppy leaps up with a bark.


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.

Numbers by Henry Pluckrose
Explains to the reader about mathematical numbers.

Number Rhymes to Say and Play by Opal Dunn
Familiar counting rhymes.


Counting: 1, 2, 3: Rhymes and Songs

Alice the Camel
Alice the camel has five humps, (hold up 5 fingers)
Alice the camel has five humps,
Alice the camel has five humps,
So ride, Alice, ride.
Boom boom boom. (three claps)

Count down to zero

Alice the camel has no humps,
Alice the camel has no humps,
Alice the camel has no humps,
‘Cause Alice is a horse, of course!

Ten in the Bed
There were ten in the bed. (hold up ten fingers)
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!” (roll hands around)
So they all rolled over and one fell out. (hold up one finger)

There were nine in the bed…

Repeat verses until there are none left in the bed:
There was one in the bed,
And the little one said, “good night!”

Five Little Snowmen
Five little snowmen standing at the door. (hold up five fingers)
One snowman melted, and then there were four. (hold up four fingers)
Four little snowmen, beside a green tree. (hold arms up like tree limbs)
One snowman melted, and then there were three.(hold up three fingers)
Three little snowmen with caps and mittens blue, (point to head, then hold up hands)
One snowman melted, and then there were two. (hold up two fingers)
Two little snowmen standing in the sun,(hold arms in a circle overhead)
One snowman melted and then there was one. (hold up one finger)
One little snowman started to run, (pretend to run)
But that snowman melted, and then there were none! (hold up fist with no fingers showing)

Five Little Peas
Five little peas in a peapod pressed, (hold up five fingers)
one grew, two, grew, so did all the rest.(hold up one finger, then two, then all)
They grew and they grew and did not stop..(stretch arms up high)
Until one day the pod went POP! (clap hands)

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