Posted tagged ‘Math’

Using Picture Books to Enhance Reading, Writing, and Math in Schools

February 24, 2022

As a former elementary school teacher, I believe the early years of school instruction should concentrate on the basics of reading, writing, and math. Mastery of these skills will open the door to a successful future.

There are many creative ways to make reading, writing, and math exciting for young students. Learning should be fun. As a teacher, your excitement about teaching will engage students in learning. Teaching skills like phonics, math facts, and a proper way to write a sentence can be a bit tedious, but, like pepper, you can spice them up.

Enter the picture book. It is a versatile tool. A picture book tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It presents information in an imaginative way. Captivating illustrations within a picture book encourage students to want to read more. Below are a few examples of picture books that can be paired with teaching skills to enhance learning.


The Plot Chickens is a humorous book that demonstrates what to do and not to do when writing a story.

Punctuation Takes a Vacation Learn what happens when commas, periods, question marks, and other punctuation go on a holiday.

Reading and Writing

You Are Reader! You Are a Writer! This rhyming book is two books in one. Read it from the front. Read it from the back. The stories meet in the middle. It’s an inspiration for reading and writing.

Reading and Math Concepts

Circle Under Berry A delightful study of concepts that combines colors, shapes, and words, and how they relate to one another.


Dozens of Doughnuts A delectable book about dividing and sharing doughnuts with friends.

The Pizza Problem A yummy way to learn about fractions.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? Work on estimation and skip counting skills with pumpkins big and small.

There are numerous picture books that can be paired with teaching skills to enhance learning. Give it a try. Once students have achieved success in the basic skills of reading, writing, and math, the flood gates will open, and learning in all areas of the curriculum will flow freely.

National Women’s History Month

March 12, 2020

Throughout history, many achievements made by women have been overlooked.  Advances in science, technology, engineering, arts, math, and social issues are among many of their accomplishments. March is National Women in History Month. It’s a time to celebrate women who have excelled no matter what the odds. They are role models for our younger generation of women, and it’s our responsibility to continue to support and encourage the talents of young girls.

Below are some picture book biographies that demonstrate the amazing contributions of women. Take a look and share these with readers young and old.


The Girl With A Mind For Math:  The Story of Raye Montague


Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge


Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life:  Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor


Dorothea Lange:  The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression


Eliza:  The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton 


Dangerous Jane 


What Miss Mitchell Saw 


Sonia Sotomayor: Turning Pages My Life Story


Maya Lin:  Artist-Architect of Light and Lines Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Born to Swing:  Lil Harden Armstrong’s Life in Jazz


Making Their Voices Heard:  The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe


Her Fearless Run:  Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon


Anybody’s Game:  Kathryn Johnston, the First Girl to Play Little League Baseball




Climb On Board

June 1, 2017

I’m sure you’ve seen the sign, “Baby on Board.” Of course, that means someone is carrying a baby.

There are many ways humans carry babies – in wraps, in slings, in carriers attached to your back or your front, in your arms …

Like humans, animals carry their babies, too. Baby on Board: How Animals Carry Their Young is written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Cathy Morrison, Dawn Publications.


This is a perfect show-and-tell book for children who want to learn how a variety of animals carry their young. There are two-page spreads throughout the book, and Marianne Berkes cleverly introduces each animal with two lines of rhyming text followed by a short paragraph of factual information. Cathy Morrison’s illustrations are detailed and done in vibrant colors that invite readers to reach out and touch them. The back matter consists of a match game, read aloud suggestions, and an assortment of resources for parents and teachers to use, including math, science, and engineering activities which make Baby on Board ideal for the STEM curriculum.

If your kids love animals, climb on board for some fun and learning with this book!

Math Curse

February 28, 2013

Gas prices are skyrocketing. Food prices are creeping up. The economic outlook remains questionable. In this time of uncertainty, what should we do?

My advice is simple. Check your receipts. Every penny counts!

Case in point:  My husband and I ventured out to the grocery store after finding our cupboards were bare. We picked up the staples of life – milk, bread, fruit, and vegetables. I thought we did a pretty good job following our grocery list, but when I saw our total bill, I choked. We needed a grocery reality check.

On the way to the car, I went through the grocery receipt line-by-line. And there it was. Right before my eyes was the total for the four avocados we had purchased – $24.50. Math curses! I bought the avocados because they were two for a dollar. Something was amiss. On closer inspection, I discovered we were not charged for four avocados. We were charged for forty-nine avocados! Holy guacamole! That’s enough green stuff to last from now until St. Patrick’s Day! An immediate trip back to the service desk brought our grocery bill down to a more reasonable total.

Word to the wise. Check your math. Check your receipts. Check your bills. Check your checks. Check. Check. Check.

Don’t let math be a curse. Below are some books you and your kids can count on!

Kids + Parents + Math Books = 3x the fun!


Math Curse written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith

The Grapes of Math written by Gregory Tang and illustrated by Harry Briggs

Math Potatoes written by Gregory Tang and illustrated by Harry Briggs

How Much Is A Million? written by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Michael Slack

Math-terpieces written by Greg Tang and illustrated by Greg Paprocki

Apple Fractions written Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster

Addition in the Forest written by Jennifer Rozines Roy and Gregory Roy

Ten Apples Up On Top! written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss


Pumpkins, Seeds, Estimation, and a Book

October 21, 2011

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?, written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, is a perfect book to share with students. It combines science, math, a seasonal activity, and a boost of self-esteem for the smallest boy in the class.

Mr. Tiffin, a very clever teacher, brings three pumpkins to class – small, medium, and large. “How many seeds in a pumpkin?” he asks. It’s a brilliant way to motivate students and introduce estimation. The students take a guess, and then Mr. Tiffin has them cut open the pumpkins to see how many seeds are in each. He uses another math tie-in when he asks how they should count the seeds. Mr. Tiffin elicits answers from the students, who decide to count by twos, fives, and tens. Each group calculates how many seeds are in their pumpkin. The smallest boy in the class finds the smallest pumpkin has the most. This leads into a mini science lesson in which the students compare the three pumpkins. They discover the smallest pumpkin is darker orange and has more lines on the outside than the other two. Mr. Tiffin explains that for each line on the outside of a pumpkin there is a row of seeds on the inside. The longer the pumpkin grows, the darker it gets and the more lines it gets. Proud that his pumpkin has the most seeds, the smallest boy in the class tells Mr. Tiffin that “small things have a lot going on inside them.”

This book fits right into the fall season and lends itself to a variety of ways to engage students in new learning experiences that that are fun and easy to do.

How many seeds does your pumpkin have?

%d bloggers like this: