Library Academy for Educators: March and April 2022

Our featured pre-literacy skill for March and April is phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is the ability to pay attention to the sounds of spoken language, and understand that words can be broken up into units or chunks of sound. Explore insects and other creepy crawlies while building this important skill.

#READ: Pete the Cat and The Itsy Bitsy Spider by James Dean

Pete the Cat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider book cover

Use your library card or apply for an ecard here to access our digital library!  

Pete the Cat's cool adaptation of the classic children's song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" will have young readers laughing and singing along. The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout. Down came the rain.... As the itsy bitsy spider struggles, Pete and his friends know just what to do to help out!

Increase phonological awareness as you read together: 

  • Before reading, sing the classic nursery rhyme The Itsy Bitsy Spider with children.
  • During the read-aloud encourage children to join in to sing the refrain.
  • Pause to encourage children to fill in the second word in rhyming pairs as you read.

#SING:  Emphasize rhyming words as you move like creepy crawly animals.

Can You Move With Me?  

(Tune: Do Your Ears Hang Low?) 

#EXPLORE:  Slow Snail Syllable Blending

Targeted Standards 

  1. Language and Literacy 

IV.F.2.d. Combines syllables into words (e.g., “sis” + “ter” = “sister”)


  • Slowly, Slowly Rhyme
  • List of multisyllabic words
  • Optional – snail puppet
  • Optional – picture cards to represent each animal


  1. Tell children that you are going to move like creepy crawly animals. Practice walking slowly in place like a snail. Practice running in place very quickly like a fast beetle.
  2. Share the Slowly, Slowly Rhyme while moving slowly like a snail, and quickly like a beetle.

Slowly, Slowly Rhyme 

Slowly, slowly, very slowly creeps the garden snail. 

Slowly, slowly, very slowly up the garden rail. 

(walk in place slowly) 


Quickly, quickly, very quickly beetles start to scurry, 

Quickly, quickly, very quickly beetles in a hurry.  

(run in place quickly) 

  1. If using, introduce children to the snail puppet. If not using a puppet, you can create a snail using your hands. Ball one hand into a fist, and make a peace sign with your alternate hand to create antennae. Tell children that the snail will say the words very slowly. Ask children to help by saying the words fast like a beetle.
  2. Use the list of multisyllabic words below to model speaking like a snail. Stretch out words by pausing between each syllable (e.g., spi-der). Have children decipher what the snail is saying by blending the word together. Ask children to “Say it fast (like a beetle)”.
  • Spi-der (Spider)
  • But-ter-fly (Butterfly)
  • Grass-hop-per (Grasshopper)
  • La-dy-bug (Ladybug)
  • Cat-er-pil-lar (Caterpillar)
  • Bum-ble-bee (Bumblebee)
  • Bee-tle (Beetle)
  1. Repeat using additional words. If needed, provide picture cards as prompts for children.



Get a Library Card

Jacksonville Public Library Card image