November 7, 2012

Picture Books for Teaching Math



Sometimes I forget that the best way to teach most things is through an appealing book.  I tend to forget this most commonly in my efforts to teach math despite the fact that I have repeatedly had amazing math breakthroughs due to math picture books.  I thought I would share a few of my children's favorites with you.


A Fair Bear Share is all about place value.  My daughter understood place value for the first time after reading this.  


One More Bunny has the cutest illustrations. More to the point, it is about adding one. All my children loved it. I had my four year old figure out how many bunnies there would be if you added one before I let the older two say the answer. They nearly burst waiting--but it was good practice for all three. Can't emphasize enough how cute the pictures are. I put this on my list of must own just for the picture of the bunny in the swing. You'll know which bunny I mean when you see her.



Quack and Count is about grouping the number 7. So one page will have the duckies in a group of 5 and a group of 2. Another page will have the duckies in a group of 1 and a group of 6. As a little side benefit, there are three little ladybugs hidden on each spread. We had a lot of fun reading this book together and finding the ladybugs.





This is pretty much one of the best math books ever written.

My dad gave it to my sister a few years ago, and it has been a favorite of her family (and mine) ever since. I knew that Miriam would love the elves, the info about apples, and the adorable illustrations. It is a must going into fractions.

I have a resource called Math Literature: Picture Books that Teach Math Concepts compiled by Barbara Saylor.  I know it used to be available but the Tales for Teaching website appears to be defunct, so I am not sure if it is still available or not.  The phone number and email of the company are still available at this website that advertises the entire program.  You don't need the whole program, just the reference book and the library.

Even if you can't buy the book from the website it is worth it to search a few used book stores.  The reference book has math broken down by concept (ie double-digit addition) followed by a list of picture books that teach/reinforce that concept.  It has been so helpful in that my children all learn best through reading so I glance through what is coming up in their math books, open my reference book and order all the books for those concepts that the library carries.  When the books come I glance through them, read my favorites to the child who needs it, and leave the rest lying around for the rest of the kids to look through and/or read.

This has worked splendidly for us.  I firmly believe in reading.  I firmly believe in how well lovely illustrations help cement ideas in children's brains. I also firmly believe in using the library to supplement all my curriculum.

If you have any favorite math picture books feel free to shout them out in the comments, or, if you have any other great resources for finding math picture books, we'd love to hear about that as well.

Happy math and happy reading!


Andrea is a homeschooling mother of five; ages 9, 7, 6, 3, and 20 months. She is a "retired" school teacher who loves books, books, and more books! She also loves writing, cooking, hiking, dancing, singing, and hanging out with her family.  You can read more about her homeschooling efforts on the blog Frolic and Farce.

2 comments - Add a comment below -:

Melissa said...

I love the MathStart series that A Fair Bear Share is a part of. There are so many good books there. I also like The Greedy Triangle when talking about shapes, sides, and vertices.

Marcina said...

LivingMath.net is a wonderful resource for "math readers" just like the ones you have mentioned. I love teaching with picture books, thanks for your post.