Today I’m sharing some of my favorite math-based picture books for primary grades. From number order, to counting on, to equal parts, I have included lots of books, mini-lesson ideas, and resources for getting your math mini-lessons on the right track! Throughout the post, you’ll find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon tosses a few nickels my way if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you, that help keep my corner of cyber-space running and helps fund giveaways!
Ten Black Dots, 1,2,3 Peas, and One Big Pair of Underwear are three great books for conversations about ways numbers can be represented. Throughout each page in these books, students are able to identify numbers and show different ways they are made (10 peas, 2 shoelaces, 6 bears, etc.). Reading these books aloud during a mini-lesson can initiate a number conversation that translates to the teacher table, as students are asked to show different ways to represent a single number. (Below is a mini-lesson using Ten Black Dots)
Number order and counting on are often considered Kinder skills but are important ones for our young learners to master! The Napping House is a great way to approach counting on as people are being added to the bed. While not explicitly a “math book”, it’s a great time to chart a pattern with your class and to make predictions about what numbers will come next. Let’s Count Goats is a simple, silly, and kid-approved book for counting within 10, as well as, Eight-Nine-Ten which is a little more old-school. Finally, When the Doorbell Rang is perfect for introducing equal shares, but can also used for predicting upcoming numbers and number patterns!
Oh making 10…a critically important foundation for our young mathematicians that is used for YEARS to come – percents, decimals, exponents, and SO much more. Plus, our fluency standard in 1st grade is addition and subtraction relationships within 10. My go-to mentor text for making 10 is Ten Flashing Fireflies. A beautifully illustrated story in which there are 10 fireflies at night and two friends are collecting them. Every time one firefly is collected in their jar (shown on the left side of each page), this is one less in the sky (shown on the right side of the book, see below). It’s the perfect book for talking about commutative property (i.e. flip-flip facts) within the 10 facts (1 and 9 & 9 and 1). Then, in small groups, it is the perfect text to have students model what is happening with ten frames!
What Does Equal Mean?
The idea of equality – in life or in math – is such a difficult and abstract concept. As teachers we have to find real and concrete ways to show students what “being equal” can mean. Equal Shmequal is a narrative story that offers a group of bickering friends as an adventure for exploring things and situations that center around equality. It’s the perfect story to read during whole-group and then, pull out the math balance during small-group. Students love the opportunity to have hands-on practice with the balance and will be able to easily make the see-saw connection offered by the author. (Note – this story is not explicitly a “math” story so it offers students the opportunity to construct their own meaning and make their own math connections!)
Math in Real Life
For my final favorite, I must admit it has NOTHING to do with Common Core or mastering math skills and all about loving reading. Bugs by the Numbers is a book all about the numbers of insects and bugs. From odd facts to terrifying information about how many creepy-crawlies there are in this world, this book is just fun. It includes ALL kinds of numbers (small and VERY large), is stocked with connections to the real-world, and can easily fill those spare 1-2 minutes before lunch or dismissal.
So, friends – tell me! How do you use read alouds in your math classrooms? What are you favorite books for teaching and modeling in Primaryland? I’m also looking for awesome books and would love to hear what works for you!
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