Teaching Math with Storybooks

By reading and discussing stories with children, you can gain some insight to how they think. Herbert Ginsburg, a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College Columbia University suggests that reading and discussing math storybooks with your child can help set the stage for meaningful mathematical achievements in school.

Certain books, such as counting and shape books are centered on learning math. However, there are also many books that have embedded mathematical ideas in the stories. For example, when Goldilocks sees Baby Bear’s bed and realizes it is too small, she compares the size of the beds to the bears. By doing this, she then realizes that there is a simple correlation between the two: the smaller or larger the bear, the smaller or larger the bed.

Storybooks deal with mathematical information informally with patterns, spatial relations, measurements, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. When reading books with your child ask questions about what’s happening in the story, make predictions of what will happen next, and try to find the embedded mathematical skills.

The following ideas may promote your child’s math learning:

  • Read books that you both find interesting.
  • Talk with your child about what is happening in the story.
  • Use mathematical language to describe and explain events in the book, (this square has four sides and they are all the same length, this is the biggest, which weighs the most) this should also keep your child engaged.
  • Think about your own math experiences and if they are negative, try not to transmit those feelings.

Reading stories is a wonderful way to help your child understand new mathematical skills. To help you along, we have math literature guides on Quantiles.com that can be used to introduce new mathematical skills. Literature guides are provided as a resource for the Quantile Skill and Concept (QSC) they are associated with.

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Ginsburg, H. P. (2016, February 2). Finding the Math in Storybooks for Young Children. KQED News. Retrieved from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/02/02/finding-the-math-in-storybooks-for-young-children/

 

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