Why Worms? by Gillian Davies and Robin Kramer

            This is an easy reader book that really does not tell much about worms but it could be a good book to introduce a worm study unit.  Andrew likes to draw worms, lots of worms.


  •   A dozen worms and a plastic shoe box
  •   Several colors of yarn cut into 10 inch lengths, one per child
  •  Large pieces of paper
  • 5 Styrofoam coffee cups


  • Wrigley (moving all around)Curling (to make lines that are not straight but like a rainbow or a C)
  • Squished-up (all bunched up into a little ball)

Before Reading the Story

            Show the children the cover of the book and read the title, Why Worms?  Ask the children if they know what worms are good for.  If not, talk to them about how fishermen use worms to catch fish and gardeners like worms because they make the soil soft and healthy for flowers and plants to grow.  Ask them if they can think of animals that might eat worms?  Tell them that worms are very important to the earth and that worms are good for the earth.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Reading the Story

            When you get to the page where the only place left to draw is the wall, stop and ask the children what they think will happen? When you get to the page where Mom says they have to go shopping, ask the children if they can guess what Mom is going to buy?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and predict what will happen next in a story.

After Reading the Story

            Give each child a piece of yarn about 10 inches long.  Ask them to make a curved worm, a squished-up worm, a long worm, etc.  Can you make a letter /c/ with your worm?  Try a letter /s/.  Continue until the children lose interest.  You can have them make different kinds of lines, letters, and shapes.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary AND Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds.


            Bring in real worms for the children to observe.  Put them in a plastic shoe box with a little bit of torn newspaper on the bottom, worms need moisture.  If the children are going to touch the worms have them dampen their hands first.  At the end of the day set the worms free.  Add a magnifying glass.  On a piece of paper write; Today we looked at worms.  Underneath it write the children’s observations (they tickle, they push and pull to move, they snuggle together are they scared?  They are sticky, they are shiny, they stretch out long!  They make letters like /e/ with their body, worm and squirm are rhyming words). Give the children pieces of paper and ask them to draw their worms as they observe them in different positions.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops growing abilities to collect, describe, and record information through a variety of means, including discussion, drawings, maps, and charts.

Music and Movement

            Pretend to be worms.  Have the children spread out and lay down on a carpet.  Can they wriggle their bodies like a worm?  Try to curl-up and squish up.  See if you can stretch and scrunch to move forward, no arms allowed. 

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; progresses in physical growth, strength, stamina, and flexibility.

            Play the Hap Palmer song Walter the Waltzing Worm.  Cut out 10 inch piece of yarn for the children to dance along with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI6cp8XOyCY

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary AND shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.


            Show the children how to lay a block on top of a piece of large paper and trace around it.  Have them trace around several different blocks.  Later lay all the pieces of paper on the floor and the children can match the correct blocks to their shapes.

Literacy/Early Writing; experiments with a growing variety of writing tools and materials, such as pencils, crayons, and computers. AND Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; begins to be able to determine whether or not two shapes are the same size and shape.


            Cut several colors of yarn into six inch pieces.  Put out a bowl of watered down glue and brushes.  Give the children a piece of brown paper and have them brush the glue onto the paper.  They can then use the yarn worms to make a picture.  Encourage them to try to make letters and shapes with their worms.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; progresses in ability to put together and take apart shapes.

Library and Writing

            Make journals for the children and present them.  Encourage the children to draw something that they would like to learn more about in school.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop sand express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences.

Sand and Water

            Put dirt or sand into the table.  Add rubber fishing worms and several spoons.  The children can dig for worms.  Make sure there are no hooks in the worms! Count how many worms you found.

Mathematics/Numbers & Operations; begins to make use of one -to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Dramatic Play

            Tie a piece of yarn onto a small stick, a pencil will work.  On the other end, tie a magnet.  Cut out fish shapes and put letters, numbers, shapes or colors on them.  Let the children go fishing.  Add a bucket to put the fish in.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors. AND Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activites, projects, and experiences.

Math and Manipulatives

            Label the Styrofoam coffee cups with numbers 1-5.  Have a child hide their eyes and put a yarn/fishing worm under one of the cups.  The child has to guess what cup it is under by the number name. (It’s under number 3).

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numbers in meaningful ways.

Outdoor Play

            Give the children shovels and dig for worms.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.


            Put a piece of paper on the wall and a container of crayons.  As the children prepare to go to the next activity, have them come up and draw a worm.  The teacher names the color and the child picks the proper crayon.  When they draw their worm, make sure to comment on its curl, length, zig-zag, size, etc. (Kerry what a curly blue worm, Roger that is a long yellow worm),

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.