Skip to main content
Fairfax County logo

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

Point out when a book’s illustrations show print. This will help children understand that you are reading the print and that print has meaning. This will help develop print awareness.

Counting: 1, 2, 3: Books

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke
Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers.

Baby Goes to Market

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
Big Fat Hen counts to ten with her friends and all her chicks.

City by Numbers by Stephen Johnson
Paintings of various sites around New York City—from a shadow on a building to a wrought iron-gate to the Brooklyn Bridge depict the numbers from one to twenty-one.

Construction Countdown by K. C. Olson
Introduces numbers and subtraction as the reader counts construction equipment from ten to one.

Crash! Boom! – A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris
Build, balance, count - question, estimate, measure - predict, crash and build again with Elephant and a bucket full of blocks.

Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting by Emma Dodd
In this colorful story of a sloppy dog, you can count on a happy ending.

Found Dogs by Erica Sirotich
Counts up ten dogs who are waiting in a shelter, then counts back down to one as each dog is adopted.

Goodnight Moon 123 by Margaret Wise Brown
A little bunny counts and bids goodnight to all the objects in his room before falling asleep.

Goodnight Numbers by Danica McKellar
Illustrations and simple text help the reader understand the numbers one to ten and recognize them as they appear all around us, especially at bedtime. Includes note to parents.

Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story! by JaNay Brown-Wood
In rhyming text, when the whole family and guests show up for the big dinner at Grandma's house, it becomes clear that the house is much too small to hold them all.

Groovy Joe – Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin
Groovy Joe is a guitar playing dog who loves to sing and dance, and when many other dogs come and join him his home gets a little crowded, but the party is fun, and Joe is definitely a guitar hero.

Max Counts His Chickens by Rosemary Wells
On Easter morning, when Ruby finds all ten of the marshmallow chicks hidden by the Easter Bunny, Grandma must quickly think of a way to make things fair for Max.

One Snowy Day by Diana Murray
When millions of snowflakes blanket the town in white, ONE energetic puppy and TWO children set out for some snowy day fun—full of friends, sledding, snowballs, puppy hijinks and more.

Pete the Cat – Five Little Ducks by James Dean
Sing along with Pete the Cat in his groovy adaptation of the classic children's song “Five Little Ducks.”

Plume by Isabelle Simler
Introduces a wide variety of birds, their feathers and Plume, the cat that is stalking them.

Seven Bad Cats by Monique Bonneau
From one bad cat that eats from fish traps to seven that flip over the boat, a young girl tells, in rhyme, of an adventure at sea.

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani
Cats of all shapes and sizes scamper, yawn and stretch across the pages of this playful counting book. Every now and then, some of them pile into the perfect cat stack.

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
A counting book which shows what can be done with ten black dots - one can make a sun, two a fox's eyes or eight the wheels of a train.

February 2019

Counting: 1, 2, 3: Rhymes and Songs

Here is the Beehive
Here is the beehive, (make a fist)
Where are the bees?
Hiding inside where nobody sees.
Watch them come creeping out of the hive,
One, two, three, four, five! (release one finger at a time from the fist/hive)
BUZZ-ZZZ … (wiggle fingers)


Five Currant Buns
Five currant buns in a baker’s shop, (hold up five fingers)
Big and round with a cherry on the top. (draw a circle in the air)
Along came a girl/boy (or child’s name) with a penny one day,
Bought a currant bun and took it away. (tuck one finger down into fist)
Four currant buns in a baker’s shop…
(Continue until no currant buns are left in the baker’s shop).


Five Jellyfish
Five jellyfish, five jellyfish, (hold up five fingers)
Five jellyfish sitting on a rock.
One jumped off! Splash! (tuck one finger down into a fist)

Four jellyfish… (count down)

No jellyfish, no jellyfish,
No jellyfish sitting on a rock.
One jumped up! Hooray!

One jellyfish… (count up)


Ten Cheeky Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
Ten cheeky monkeys swinging in the tree, (hold up ten fingers and swing hands from side to side)
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, “You can’t catch me!”
Along came Mr. Crocodile as quiet as can be,
And SNAP! (snap hands together)

Nine cheeky monkeys swinging in the tree.

Continue counting down to 1


Johnny Works with One Hammer
Johnny works with one hammer (children hammer with one hand)
One hammer one hammer,
Johnny works with one hammer
Johnny works with two.


Johnny works with two hammers … (children hammer with two hands)
Johnny works with three hammers… (children hammer with two hands and one leg)
Johnny works with four hammers… (children hammer with both hands and both legs)

Johnny works with five hammers (children hammer with both hands, both legs, and head)
Five hammers five hammers
Johnny works with five hammers
Johnny’s work is done!


Superheroes Countdown

Five superheroes ready to fly,
Here comes the villain, “Stop that guy!”
This superhero can save the day.
Off he flies - up, up and away!

Count down from 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Houses

One little house all alone it stood.
Then another was built,
There grows the neighborhood.


Two little houses all alone they stood.
Then another was built,
There grows the neighborhood.


Three little houses...
Four little houses...

Five little houses,
All together they stood.
On a beautiful street in a happy neighborhood.


Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory, dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one! (clap once)
The mouse ran down,
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck two! (clap twice)
The mouse said, “Boo!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck three! (clap three times)
The mouse said, “Whee!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck four! (clap four times)
The mouse said, “No more!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Fairfax County seal