Early Lit Tips: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Spring is a great time to explore the concepts of seeds and growing things. Here are some books, rhymes and an activity that will build both early literacy skills and introduce some science concepts as well.

Early Literacy Activity: Reading
Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow by Susan SheaReading together with children is the single most important thing you can do to promote early literacy. Reading together means interacting and talking about the book as you read. A great book to read together that explores the concept of growing things is Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea. The question and answer format of this book lends itself to involving children in the reading process while the rhyming text and bright illustrations make it a fun experience as well.

Rhymes and Songs
The traditional rhyme, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is an obvious choice for a gardening theme while The Gardener Plants the Seeds follows the growth of flowers from seeds to blooming.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

The Gardener Plants the Seeds (sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
The gardener plants the seeds.
The gardener plants the seeds.
High ho the derry oh,
The gardener plants the seeds.

Verse 2: The rain falls on the ground.
Verse 3: The sun shines bright and warm.
Verse 4: The seeds begin to grow.
Verse 5: The flowers smile at us.

Activity
Seedlings in homemade newspaper starter pots from Lindy's Cottage Hill BlogA great way for children to learn more about how seeds grow is to plant some and watch for themselves. If you have some newspaper and soil you have everything you need to create starter pots for flowers or vegetables. When the seedlings are big enough, just plant them directly in the ground or a larger pot, newspaper and all. Full directions with illustrations are available on the Cottage Hill blog.

If you want to go a step further and actually watch the seeds sprouting, try placing a damp (not soaking wet) cotton ball or folded paper towel in a resealable plastic sandwich bag. Put a seed or two on the damp cotton ball and seal the bag. Set it in an area that is bright, but not in direct sunlight so the seeds don’t get too hot in their makeshift greenhouse. Then watch the magic as roots start to grow and the seeds sprout. Radish and bean seeds work well for this.

This is the first in a series of posts for caregivers and librarians with tips, activities and books for promoting early literacy.

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About booksnquilts

I'm the Children's Services Coordinator for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Central Virginia.
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