Let's Talk About Math: The LittleCounters Approach to Building Early Math Skills

Authors: Donna Kotsopoulos Ph.D., Joanne Lee Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 152 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598575897
Price: $29.95

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Math can't wait. Children who can count with ease before kindergarten have a better shot at future mathematics success—and with this book, it's simple and fun to weave counting and other math concepts into everyday activities. Drawn from the authors playful and popular LittleCounters® workshops, this guidebook shows early educators, caregivers, and parents how to use purposeful play with children from birth to 5 to promote mathematical thinking and get them ready for formal math instruction. Packed with easy, no-fear strategies any adult can use—even if you're math-phobic!—this book will help all the teachers in a child's life foster critical early math knowledge and school readiness.


  • Discover amazing facts about the mathematical minds of babies and young children
  • Transform ordinary toys into learning tools that help teach mathematical concepts
  • Organize play environments and activities to encourage math learning
  • Spot teachable moments and add purposeful math talk to daily tasks
  • Teach "meaningful counting"—the skill that underpins children's potential for future math success
  • Infuse math learning into specific daily routines, such as meals, chores, and bedtime
  • Support children's readiness for formal math instruction
  • Get started with your own LittleCounters® workshop—or use the principles right away in your program or home

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: Examples and vignettes; sample activities and scripts of adult-child dialogue; recommended counting books and songs; and a detailed introduction to interactive LittleCounters® workshops, where parents and kids learn and have fun together.


Review: Teaching Children Mathematics
"This is a wonderful resource for those in the education field ... in addition to a substantial amount of relevant research, it includes detailed techniques that easily could be incorporated into a child's everyday life."
Review by: Herbert Ginsburg, Jacob H. Schiff Foundation Professor of Psychology and Education, Department of Human Development, Teachers College Columbia University
“An up-to-date and accessible review of contemporary research on the development of young children's mathematical thinking also offers workshops that provide adults with insight into LittleCounters remarkable learning and with practical and sensitive methods for stimulating their interesting minds.”
Review by: Jo-Anne LeFevre, Director, Institute of Cognitive Science, Carleton University
“An excellent book I agree with the authors that parents (and others) want to know 'what to do' to help their children be prepared for math learning. This book will tell them what they need to know and help them do it.”
Review by: Dr. Francis (Skip) Fennell, McDaniel College, Project Director Elementary Mathematics Specialists and Teacher Leaders Project, Past-President National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
“A carefully organized and sequenced guide to appropriate learning opportunities in mathematics at the early childhood level. ANYONE guiding such learning opportunities will use this bookregularly.”

Table of Contents

About the Authors
Donna Kotsopoulos, Ph.D., and Joanne Lee, Ph.D.

Chapter 1: Mathematical brains of young children (0-5 years)
Sensitivity to quantity/numerosity
Linking numerosity to number words
Ordinality, ordering numbers, and ordinal numbers
Chapter Summary
Chapter 2: Purposeful play
Mathematics made playful and mathematizing elements of play
Adults' role in play
Free play
Play-based learning
Purposeful play
Assessing learning through play
Chapter summary
Chapter 3: Counting with your LittleCounters®
Symbolic representations of numbers
Chapter summary
Chapter 4: Let's talk about numbers
What is mathematical talk?
What do parents talk about with their young children?
Talk and learning about numbers
Chapter summary
Chapter 5: Other mathematical thinking
Visual spatial reasoning
Visual spatial development
Adding and subtracting
Patterning and early algebra
Proportional reasoning
Ordinal numbers
Chapter summary
Chapter 6: Mathematics in everyday activities and routines
Chores and helping
Organization and time
Chapter summary
Chapter 7: Mathematics education during formal schooling
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Readiness for schooling
Narrowing the gap
Gender and mathematics
The role of parents
Teachers and teacher knowledge
Chapter summary
Appendix A: Overview of LittleCounters
Appendix B: Childrens counting books
Our suggested list of counting books
Appendix C: Childrens songs and poems


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