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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

Children are naturally fascinated by the world around them. Build background knowledge by including non-fiction titles when reading with children.

Summer: Books


Can I Tell You A Secret? by Anna Kang
Monty the frog has a secret he wants share with you—he cannot swim.

Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis
A little boy writes a letter to his grandfather about all the reading and studying he is doing this summer—but all his activities revolve around ice cream.

Kitten’s Summer by Eugenie Fernandes
Animals in the wild and on the farm scramble to avoid the rain. Find out if the kitten makes it home before it is soaked.

Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn
Baby Leo loves the water, so his father takes him to swim class with the other toddlers.

Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure
As spring slowly turns to summer, a little boy builds a fort and plants a garden in impatient anticipation.

Old House, New House by Phillis Gershator
A child spends a wonderful summer in the country, in a big old house with plenty of mice but no running water, and begs to stay there, but summer's end and a cross-country journey bring a wonderful surprise.

Puppy Pool Party!: An Underwater Adventure by Seth Casteel
Photographs and simple, rhyming text reveal what goes on beneath the surface at the puppy pool party.

Splashdance by Liz Starin
Ursula, a bear, and Ricardo, a human, are preparing for the water ballet competition. But a new regulation at the community pool—no bears—leaves Ursula cut from the contest. Luckily, Ursula and her team figure out a way to participate in the competition.

Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee
A little girl enjoys the activities of a warm summer day and night.

Summer Wonders by Bob Raczka
Illustrations and rhyming text celebrate the sights and sounds of summer, from days of diving and swimming to nights of stargazing and fireflies.

The Thing About Yetis by Vin Vogel
Yetis love snow and all things winter, but sometimes they need a dose of summer as well.


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.

From Seed to Plant by Allan Fowler
Learn how plants grow.

Life in a Pond by Allan Fowler
Learn about pond ecology.

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel
The life cycle of a praying mantis.

Summer Walk by Virginia Snow
Beautiful illustrations and clever rhymes guide readers as they learn about different bugs, from grasshoppers to moths to katydids.

Weather by John Farndon
Explore all kinds of weather with fun facts and activities.

Summer: Rhymes and Songs

Summer’s Here
(Tune: “Frere Jacques”)
Days are longer, sunshine’s stronger.
Summer’s here! Summer’s here!
Let’s jump through the sprinkler, let’s make lemonade,
Summer’s here! Summer’s here!

Swimming in the water cool and bright. (pretend to swim)
I kick my feet with all my might. (kick feet)
And when I’m tired I turn and float. (spin and hold arms out)
Pretending that I’m a boat.
I like to hold my breath and dive. (pretend to take breath and dive)
I swim beneath the water and count to five. (count to five)
Wow! What a dive!

Going to the Ocean
(Tune: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”)
I am going to the ocean,
To the ocean blue.
I am going to the ocean,
And you can come too!
We could watch the big blue waves,
Rising up and rolling down.
We could look for pretty sea shells,
on the sandy ground.
Come along with me,
Come along with me,
Come along with me to the deep blue sea!
Come along with me,
Come along with me today!

The Jellyfish
(Tune: “My Bonnie”)
The jellyfish lives in the ocean, (wiggle arms like jellyfish)
The jellyfish lives in the sea,
The jellyfish lives in the ocean,
Oh jellyfish, swim by me! (point to self)
Swim, swim, swim, swim, (pretend to swim)
Oh, jellyfish swim by me. (point to self)
Swim, swim, swim, swim, (pretend to swim)
Oh, jellyfish swim by me. (point to self)

The Sharks in the Sea
(Tune: “Wheels on the Bus”)

The sharks in the sea go chomp, chomp, chomp,
Chomp, chomp, chomp,
Chomp, chomp, chomp.
The sharks in the sea go chomp, chomp, chomp,
All day long.

Continue singing with additional verses:
The lobsters in the sea go pinch, pinch, pinch,
The whale in the sea goes squirt, squirt, squirt,
The clams in the sea go open and shut,
The octopus in the sea goes wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
The seahorse in the sea rocks back and forth,
The kids in the waves jump up and down,

Printable pictures
Cut out, laminate, and put velcro on the backs to use on a feltboard.

Five Little Seashells
(Hold up five fingers, and swish each one down with the other hand.)
Five little seashells lying on the shore,
Swish went the waves, and then there were four.
Four little seashells, pretty as could be,
Swish went the waves, and then there were three.
Three little seashells all pearly new,
Swish went the waves, and then there were two.
Two little seashells shining in the sun,
Swish went the waves, and then there was one.
One little seashell left all alone,
I picked it up and took it home.

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