A Tale of Two Robins

Getting the most mileage out of traditional songs for literacy learning & more.

By Liz Buchanan


I’ve created my own versions of many traditional songs to help enhance early literacy skills, such as sounding out letter sounds and rhyming words.  Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote about five such songs, which will appear in the Fall 2013 issue of CMN’s journal of children’s music, Pass It On!

The finger play “Two Little Blackbirds” is a common nursery game & song. I turned it into an activity that encourages consonant-sound learning by making the creature and the names all start with the same letter. You can see how I do this song here. You can also download the song at the CDBaby site for my album, Once Upon a Tune.

Here are my lyrics:

Two little robins, sitting in the tree

One named Rob and one named Ree

Fly Away Rob, Fly away, Ree

Come back Rob, come back Ree.

Tweet tweet tweet…

Two little bunnies, sitting on the hill

One named Bob, one named Bill

Hop away Bob, Hop away, Bill

Come back Bob, Come back Bill.

Hop, hop, hop…

Two little fishies, swimming in the sea

One named Fred and one named Fee

Swim away Fred, swim away Fee

Come back Fred, come back Fee.

Glub glub glub glub, splash ….

Recently I expanded the song to include many more birds and sea creatures.  This helped me add many more consonant sounds (and one vowel, for eels), as well as many more interesting creatures.

Two little penguins out in the snow,

One named Peg and one named Poe.

Waddle off …

Two little hummingbirds down in the valley

One named Hettie and one named Halley

Hum away …

Two little Whippoorwills call in the night

One named Will and one named White

Fly away …

Two little cardinals sitting on a pole

One named Cam and one named Cole

Fly away …

Two little mockingbirds, singing in the spring

One named Meg, one named Ming.

Fly away … (For chorus, have mockingbirds mock other people’s songs)

Two toucans with a great big bill

One named Ted and one named Till

Fly away …

Two little jellyfish, drifting down below

One named Jane and one named Joe

Float away…

Two little dolphins, swimming on a wave

One named Deb and one named Dave

Flip away …

Two little eels, swimming by the reef

One named Ed, one named Eve

Slink away ….

Two big whales, lunching on some krill

One named Wes and one named Will

Swim away….

Got another creature? Another letter?  Feel free to write verses and send them in!

Liz Buchanan is President of CMN. In order to read the whole article in Pass It On! which will be online in a few weeks, you must be a CMN member. Click here to discover the many benefits of membership!

 Pass It On! http://www.cmnonline.org/pio.htm

Why join CMN?  http://www.cmnonline.org/why-join.htm

Liz’s website http://www.antelopedance.com]



  1. Thanks for this great song, Liz! I’ve used the old version but I love your new one!

    1. Great idea Liz. I’m going to use it this week at an in-service….

  2. Hi Liz, I just learned this old song this year! Where have I been? I use it to teach opposites ~ Two little birdies sitting on a cup.. one named down, one named UP…
    the kids crack up over some of them, like quiet and LOUD! cold and HOT as I pretend to have it burn me. This week I have changed the birds to BATS and they are hanging all over the place, lots of great fun.

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