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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

Literacy Tip: When reading together with your child, make the experience interactive by asking questions, such as “What do you think will happen next?”

At the Beach: Books


Dude! by Aaron Reynolds
A platypus and a beaver are friends. They want to go surfing but, dude, there's this shark who's in the ocean, too. But don't worry. This shark approaches and, dude! You'll never guess what happens.


Hum and Swish by Matt Myers
Jamie wants to quietly work on an art project near her friend, the sea, but people keep disturbing her by asking questions.

Mermaid Dreams by Kate Pugsley
Pearl loves the beach, but it would be more fun if she had a friend. Too shy to say hello, Pearl watches the kids play nearby, and slowly her eyes droop closed.... When Pearl awakens, she discovers that she is a mermaid! Making new friends may not be as hard as you think – if you have a good imagination.

On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen
At the Cape Cod shoreline, gulls perform acrobatics in pursuit of a sea star.

The Quiet Crocodile Goes to the Beach by Natacha Andriamirado
The quiet crocodile loves spending time on the beach and, with the help of his friends, he might get over his fear of the water.

Sea Glass Summer by Michelle Houts
A boy named Thomas finds pieces of sea glass on the beach and dreams of where they came from.


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 Ocean Craft Book by Clare Beaton
Nature crafts and activities for little ones.

Puffer Fish by Colleen Sexton.
Simple text and full color photographs introduce beginning readers to puffer fish. VOX book.

Sharks by Gail Gibbons
Describes different kinds of sharks and their physical characteristics. From huge whale sharks to tiny dwarf sharks, this book has everything you need to know about one of the most popular – and mysterious – sea creatures.

At the Beach: Songs and Rhymes

Sand and Sun
(Tune: Row Row Row Your Boat)
Beach, beach, sand and sun,
Playing by the sea.
Summertime is just for fun.
A special time for me!
Digging, digging in the sand,
Happy as can be.
Summertime is just for fun.
A special time for me!

One Shark in the Bathtub
(flannelboard template for sharks and tub)

One shark in the bathtub going for a swim. (hold up one finger)
Knock, knock. (clap hands twice)
Splash, splash. (slap your knees twice)
Come on in! (wave to enter with both hands)

(Repeat with two sharks, three sharks, four sharks…)

Five sharks in the bathtub going for a swim.
Knock, knock.
Splash, splash.
They all fell in! (if using a flannel board, knock everything off the board)

Five Little Fishies

Five little fishies, swimming in the sea, (wiggle hand like fish swimming)
Teasing Mr. Shark “You can’t catch me!” (wag pointer finger)
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be…
And (clap hands) SNAPS that fishy right out of the sea.

(Repeat with four fish, three fish, two fish, and one fish…)

So alone swims Mr. Shark as quiet as can be.
And he looked and he looked… (hold up hand like a visor, scan side to side)
“No more fishies for me.” (shrug shoulders, with palms up)

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