Cowboys Count, Monkeys Measure, and Princesses Problem Solve: Building Early Math Skills Through Storybooks

Authors: Jane M. Wilburne Ed.D., Jane B. Keat Ph.D., Mary Napoli Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 136 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598571066
Price: $26.95

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Nervous about teaching math to young children? Too pressed for time to teach all of the math concepts children need to know? Now there's a practical, stress-free guide to one of the most effective ways to enhance children's mathematical thinking in pre-K through Grade 3—by weaving math concepts into storytime.

Ready for any educator to pick up and start using, this concise book gives teachers the guidance they need to find high-quality storybooks on their own bookshelf, read them to children effectively, and develop age-appropriate math problems based on the story's plot, characters, setting, and illustrations. This creative, field-tested approach to math instruction is a must in every classroom because it

  • Helps teachers meet NCTM guidelines. Included sample lessons explicitly link storybook-based math instruction to the curriculum focal points identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
  • Targets foundational math skills. Learn how to pose higher level, open-ended math questions related to the story, so children develop the problem-solving, reasoning, and critical thinking skills they'll build on forever.
  • Improves literacy skills. Respond to the NCTM's call for increased connection between literature and mathematics.
  • Works with any storybook. Teachers will see how to use the high-quality storybooks they already have to engage students in mathematical discovery—even if there are no numbers or math concepts in the book.
  • Connects math with real life. Relate math concepts to students' everyday lives, so they understand that math is more than problems in a textbook.
  • Keeps students engaged. The playful, imaginative storybook approach promotes student engagement and enthusiasm—the two major characteristics children exhibit when they're learning well.
  • Polishes teachers' own "mathematical lenses." Perfect for teachers who say they "hate math," this book opens their eyes to the mathematical concepts all around them, so they can recognize teaching opportunities in their classrooms.

Teachers will implement the ideas in this book right away with a helpful list of more than 40 popular storybooks for teaching math and grade-specific sample lessons that model higher-level questions and problem-solving activities. And with the blank lesson template, teachers can develop their own math activities and units based on the storybooks of their choice.

The ideal way to meet high-stakes standards for math education without investing significant resources in additional curricula, this guidebook will help educators teach math with confidence and lay the foundation for their students' long-term success.


Review: Teaching Children Mathematics
"If you are an elementary school teacher looking to integrate math and literature, this book is an excellent resource ... it presents worthwhile mathematical tasks with rich questions that can be used alongside analyzing story plots."
Review by: Angela Notari Syverson, University of Washington

"Engaging and accessible . . . a much needed resource for teachers to strengthen children's mathematical knowledge as well as language and critical thinking skills."

Review by: Helen Ezell, author, Shared Storybook Reading

"Early childhood educators wishing to enrich students' math learning experiences will find this to be an indispensable resource."

Review by: Sally Moomaw, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Cincinnati

"Powerfully affirmative to teachers who may feel less comfortable teaching math than reading . . . equally appealing to teachers who are math gurus and those who are less confident in their math skills."

Review by: Francis (Skip) Fennell, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD; Project Director, Elementary Mathematics Specialists and Teacher Leaders Project; Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

"Provid[es] a consistent emphasis on questioning and problem posing, all within carefully-crafted lesson plans. Any early childhood educator who likes teaching mathematics will not only use this book, but love using it."

Table of Contents

About the Authors

Section I. Mathematics and Storybooks

  1. What Is Mathematics and Where Is It Found?
  2. Mathematics in a Child's World
  3. The World of Storybooks
  4. Becoming Motivated to Find the Mathematics

Section II. Instructing with Storybooks

  1. Posing Higher Level Thinking Questions
  2. Using the Storybook Elements Approach
First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Appendix 6.A. Storybook Element Approach
  1. Targeting the Curriculum Focal Points
First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Appendix 7.A. Mathematical Curriculum Focal Points
  1. Looking at Mathematics Beyond Storybooks: Informational Texts

Children's Book References
Web Resources to Access High-Quality Storybooks for the Classroom

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