anna by anna July 7, 2016

Summer Reading with a Math Twist. Author Greg Tang

Tis the season of summer reading. Armed with our local library’s summer reading chart, I wanted to see if I could find storybooks that could combine reading and math. As luck would have it, I found a few authors. Greg Tang quickly became a favorite.

Greg Tang is the author of a math and problem-solving book series for children ages 4-10. His rhyming riddles engage young readers and old. With emerging readers, the poetry like format helps to practice reading while simultaneously practice math. I selected Math-terpieces, Math for All Seasons and the New York Times Bestseller The Grapes of Math to join our home library.

Math-terpieces Greg Tang Math-terpieces combines art history with addition and engages children in creative problem-solving with clever riddles. Some of the artwork represented include Edgar Degas’ Ballet Rehearsal on Stage and Jackson Pollock’s Number 1 (Lavender Mist). Greg Tang groups various objects related to the paintings (example eyes from Picasso’s Woman in a Blue Hat) and asks children to add two or more groupings in multiple ways. This book is worth getting in hardback and it can be devoured in one sitting or savored with one riddle a day.

Math for All Seasons Greg TangMath for All Seasons is my 6 year old’s favorite. It’s geared more toward preK-1st grade. Similar to Math-terpieces, children are engaged in addition through clever riddles and visual groupings of objects. The visual groupings encourage the development of a math skill called subitizing and is a critical component to building number sense. Unlike other storybooks that help children associate numbers with their numerals, Greg Tang offers a way for children to move from simple counting and toward addition. Two thumbs up from my youngest and me!

The Grape of Math Greg TangThe Grapes of Math offers a little bit more challenge for children who have mastered addition and are ready to move on to multiplication. Just like the previous two books, The Grapes of Math includes clever groupings of objects with rhyming riddles. Here’s one my oldest pondered for awhile called One Hump or Two?

Rugged camels on the go,

Despite a lack of H2O!


They trek all day under the sun,

Some have two humps, others one.


Can you add the humps you see?

Don’t just count them one, two, three…


To help you find the right amount,

Group by fives before you count.


What I appreciate about Greg Tang’s books is the way he uses visuals to convey mathematical concepts like subitizing, counting, addition and multiplication. My children get to see how these concepts are generalized through the physical games we play (dice and cards) as well as in Todo Math. Children need to see these representations in multiple mediums to learn and APPLY these mathematical concepts in various settings.

To complement Greg Tang’s books, consider playing the following Todo Math games to develop children’s number sense skills.


Same or DifferentScreen Shot 2016-07-03 at 7.20.21 PM Matrix (levels 7 and 8)Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 7.20.54 PM

Domino Math

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