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Using Story Books in Early Maths Teaching

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

Children often struggle with maths concepts because it is abstract and formal. Using picture story books can bring the maths to life and make it relevant and part of their world. Kids story books cover a wide range of maths ideas, from counting and identifying shape to more general concepts such as problem solving and reasoning. Children engage with stories and can act them out. As parents, we often find ourselves re-reading a book over and over again at our child's constant request . It is important children get this repetition to help solidify the ideas covered in the book.


At Number Tots, we use many teaching strategies to engage toddlers in maths. A story book is a keen favourite amongst our young learners!


Here are a few books which could be used at home to discuss maths:


Handa's Surprise



Handa's Surprise

Handa's surprise is a simple yet effective book. As Handa walks through the village, various naughty animals take a piece of fruit away from her basket. This is an obvious choice for subtraction. Children enjoy reenacting this story by sneakily taking one piece of fruit away without you noticing. Be sure to use vocabulary such as take away, subtract and one less. You can ask questions such as: "How many pieces of fruit are left?" and "How many have been taken away?"


The Hungry Catapillar



The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Another keen favourite! This is perfect for counting and one to one correspondence as each piece of fruit has a small hole in it, ideal for a little finger to poke into as they count! Encourage your child to say just one number for each hole. You could even do your own hungry caterpillar using fruit from your house!


Pattern Bugs



Pattern Bugs

Pattern Bugs is a beautifully illustrated book full of patterns to spot! It does this through traditional patterns and also repeated words. An extra bonus is it is fantastic for predicting; a vital mathematical skill!


Ship Shape



How many shapes can you spot whilst sailing the open sea? This book has a range of opportunities for counting and recognising 2D shapes. You can even make your own pictures out of shapes you find round the house. Why not make your own car shapes or rocket shapes book? Encourage children to talk about the corners and sides of the shape. Are the sides curved or straight? Loads of discussion to get out of this book!



What books do you use at home to teach maths? We would love to hear from you!



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Number Tots

Horfield United Reform Church

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