We always read books for language and literacy- that is pretty obvious. Yesterday, when I was with a group of moms, most of whom have young children, we were discussing the appropriateness, or fairness of standardized testing.
One mom reported that she had heard that children were supposed to identify a pair of “trousers” in a picture. She felt that the word “trousers” is no longer used and her child was at a disadvantage because their family does not use that word at home. Perhaps this is true. I might argue that most of us no longer use the word trousers to describe pants. We say “pants” or “jeans” or “corduroys.” However, children who read a lot, are read to a lot and who are exposed to the world of books, will have a vocabulary that will eventually include words like “trousers.” Books are important for language learning.
That brings me to books for math. If approached with intention, children’s books are rich with mathematical concepts. Some are obvious (Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed) and others have mathematical concepts embedded in the stories, through the use of patterns, rhythm, and predictability.
Nowhere is this more true than in Eric Carle books.
Take a look at this video and let us know what you think. Watch how Ana reads “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and capitalizes on the mathematical concepts. What do you think?
(The password for the video is Ana)