Children’s Books are a Great Source for Math Ideas
Todo Math by Todo Math August 30, 2016

Children’s Books are a Great Source for Math Ideas

Reading aloud from children’s books is an enriching way to spend time with kids. The stories are usually whimsical, colorful, and full of memorable moments that are universally enjoyed by families. So when one of our Todo Math moms mentioned that she integrates math ideas into storytime, the team took notice. How can families best explore math concepts during storytime? Here are suggestions about using children’s books for math ideas!

What do you think will happen next?

A curious prompt about the story can stimulate our powers of prediction. Can readers guess the likely outcome about what will happen next based on how the story has unfolded so far?

Making a prediction means we are paying attention to details while formulating our own thoughts and viewpoints. Sometimes the most interesting phrases originate from a child’s point of view.

Do you notice any patterns or details on this page?

How can we awaken our appetite for math ideas while reading through a children’s book? Staring at the pictures and observing the details can be a great way to start.

First step? Try pausing before turning a page.

Maybe there is a particularly delightful rhyme, or intricate designs in the corner of a page. Maybe there are groups of words or pictures that would be fun to count. Or, maybe the storybook is part of a series where readers can notice patterns in a favorite character’s predictable behavior.

Readers can also take a moment to practice math vocabulary. For example, talk about what images are bigger and smaller (magnitude) or which objects are under, over or beside other objects (spatial).

Allowing time to ponder can open up pathways to discovery, enjoyment and exploration.

What did you like about this story? What didn’t you like?

Adding a discussion question at the end of the story can help recall content we have just read. Instead of moving directly into the next story, try taking a chance to let the current story sink in more deeply.

Did you like the title? Would you title it differently? Who is your favorite character? Why? What was your favorite picture or part of the story? Why? If you wrote a story about this topic, what experience would you include?

Let storytime flow

Strike a balance during storytime between finding a rhythm and pausing for questions. Each family may settle on what style feels best. Maybe questions are reserved for the end, instead of asking too many times throughout and risking distraction. The choice is up to you, the storyteller, to decide what level of interactivity suits your family best.

To further develop ideas in using children’s books for math ideas, this article in the School Library Journal about adding STEM concepts to storytime could be helpful. It underscores some of the themes mentioned here, such as asking questions to help with prediction, or using time before and after the story to explore concepts.

Patterns in Todo Math

Apps can also stimulate conversation! The Pattern Game in Todo Math is ideal for asking, “What do you think will happen next?”

To get to the Pattern Game, open Todo Math, select free choice, and scroll down to Patterns under Mathematical Reasoning. Here children can notice the details of each object and its order, and predict the next object in the line up.

Back to school with Todo Math

Our goal at Todo Math is to create tools that meet every child’s learning needs. As parents ourselves, we believe there is a light in every child, and aim to do our best in the quest to help all children learn.

Tune into our Back to School 2016 series on early learning success every week in August. Ready for more counting games? Don’t forget to download Todo Math for FREE on the iTunes and Android app stores!
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