Thinking about getting some books?
Our reading choices regularly neglect mathematics.
There are tons of books that we happily read to babies. Nostalgia runs deep for cute plots, fuzzy characters, and a bit of laughter.
In our standardized book choices, children receive critical lap-time that develops vocabulary, phonemic and phonological awareness, and all other facets of beginning literacy.
At the same time, we have a plethora of games that continue to build these same skills. Nursery rhymes, hand games, I Spy, etc. all work together to build the requirements and awareness for children to begin reading and writing.
We are building fundamental, incredibly important, building blocks. That is good. That is commendable and absolutely needed.
However, I am here to point out that there is only a bit of math, at times, there is not a focused look on mathematical practice. There is less intention when it comes to the foundations of mathematics.
In my experience, in normal non-school settings as well as school-settings, the same attention to the building blocks of mathematics is absent–maybe minimally present, at best.
We do not speak math. We do not practice math. We do not notice math. Certainly not with the same veracity as we do letters and sounds.
So, this list of favorite books is focused on mathematical practice and discussion. If we can get kids excited and interested about mathematics, as babies, imagine how many more mathematicians–meaning engineers, architects, coders–we can support and create for the world!
Favorite math books for babies:
Favorite math books for young children:
Native American Heritage Month is November.
No study of American history is complete without looking at the experiences, culture, and contributions of this land’s original inhabitants.
A rich classroom library includes stories from every community, and authors from those communities.
With this in mind, I recommend The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. I discovered Erdrich’s work in college and absolutely fell in love. I have read a number of her works and each one has been phenomenal.
I introduced some of Erdrich’s work in my 4th grade class, and even brought my personal books that my students borrowed, and they enjoyed them as well.
My desire to include a story that allowed for important discussion and reflection on colonization, and a different lens of American history, led me to create a book study on The Birchbark House.
This book is categorized as realistic fiction. The story touches on culture, language, and family. It is a great book to discuss colonization, cultural assimilation, and loss. It is also a great story to discuss strength and community.
My product, a complete novel unit, can begin in November and take you through winter break. This product includes vocabulary, comprehension questions, and added exercises for each chapter. There are even background building and extension activities suggested for this unit; it provides the opportunity for a depth and breadth of learning.
As with the Spider and the Fly, even if the product is not what you need, or what you want for your classroom right now, I recommend reading this book and any other work by Erdrich, it is truly worth the read.
No one says you have to own every book you read in your classroom. Local libraries are the best–and usually have perks for teachers. Go in and ask! And while you’re there, don’t forget to get some alphabet books!