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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!

Play: Books

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. This thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference or at least help a friend.

Buster and the Baby by Amy Hest
In a little red house, a dog named Buster ducks under the table. He waits and watches and waits some more. Out of the shadows comes the baby, squealing and whirling and bumping his nose. All day long, Buster and the baby go, go, go in this playful game of chase.

Charlie’s Boat by Kit Chase
Three best animal friends can count on each other to always make play time fun.

Everybunny Dance! by Ellie Sandall
Bunnies dance, play, sing and learn to include everyone in their games.

Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson
A bear and a boy who both love exploring learn to share their adventures together.

Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy  Machinery

Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery by David Gordon
When bullies try to stop the extremely cute animals from building their sand castle, they band together to build something bigger and better.

A Fire Truck for Chuck by Annika Dunklee
At a yard sale with his mom, Chuck spots a fire truck. Mom buys it, and he plays with it nonstop. But after bath time, his fire truck is nowhere to be seen. Finally, Chuck and his truck are reunited, just in time for bed.

Meow! by Victoria Ying
A little kitten wants to play with someone, but finds that all the members of his family are too busy.

Percy, Dog of Destiny by Alison McGhee
Percy, dog of destiny, heads to the dog park with his favorite, precious ball.

Pignic by Matt Phelan
A pig experiences adversity but in the end enjoys a perfect summer day.

Play? by Linda Olafsdottir
Two young children must decide if they would like to play with each other instead of just playing with their own stuffed animals.

Play! Play! Play! by Douglas Florian
Rhyming text and illustrations invite young readers to join a group of friends for a fun-filled day of play, including riding bicycles, running a race and playing hide-and-seek.

Play with Me! by Michelle Lee
Best friends Nico the bear and Pip the pig have slightly different ideas about playtime.

Playground by Mies van Hout
Two children find many adventures on their journey to the playground.

Splatypus by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Lonely Platypus tries looking for animals to play with, but he cannot find where he belongs until he happens upon the seashore.

Truck, Truck, Goose! by Tammi Sauer
Goose is all packed for a picnic. Now all he has to do is cross the little road, filled with many different trucks, in front of his cottage.

What to Do With a Box by Jane Yolen
Illustrations, rhyming text, and shaped board pages remind readers that a simple box can be a wonderful plaything.

Play: Songs and Rhymes

If You're Happy (or Sad)
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, (clap two times)
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, (clap two times)
If you're happy and you know it then your face will surely show it,
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands. (clap two times)
If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet...
(Continue with additional actions such as touch your head, jump up and down. Substitute “sad” for “happy” and choose appropriate motions)

Hokey Pokey
You put your right hand in, (stretch hand out in front)
You put your right hand out, (stretch hand behind yourself)
You put your right hand in, (stretch hand out in front)
And shake it all about. (wiggle hand)
You do the Hokey Pokey (turn around in a circle waving hands over head)
And you turn yourself about, that's what it's all about. (clap clap)

(Continue by putting in all the other parts of the body, and finish up with your whole self.)

I’m a Floppy Rag Doll
I'm a floppy, floppy rag doll. (arms fall limp)
Dropping in my chair.
My head just rolls from side to side. (turn head from side to side)
My arms fall through the air. (drop arms limply)

My Balloon
I had a little balloon, (make circle with hands)
That I hugged tight to me. (hug self tight)
There was a great big BANG! (clap hands loudly)
No more balloon for me!
But if I had this many more, (hold up five fingers)
I wouldn't hold them tight. (shake head)
I'd just hold the strings,
And fly them like a kite. (hold arms out and pretend to fly)

Big Round Ball
Here is a big round bouncy ball. (hold hands out like holding a ball)
I bounce it 1,2,3. (pretend to bounce and count 1, 2, 3)
Here is a ball for throwing.
I can catch it, watch and see. (pretend to catch a ball)
Here is a ball for rolling.
Please roll it back to me. (pretend to roll a ball)
Bouncing, throwing, rolling balls,
Let's count them: 1,2,3. (hold fingers up and count 1, 2, 3)

A Little Ball
A little ball. (clasp hands)
A bigger ball. (hands apart)
A great big ball I see. (hold arms wide apart)
Now let's count the balls.
One, two, three! (hold up fingers and count 1, 2, 3)

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