Saturday, February 22, 2014

10 Math Books for 10 First Years

We Love Reading and We Love Math

I am delighted to be a guest at The Reading Mama today. My name is Natalie, and I blog at Planet Smarty Pants about literature-based activities and nurturing enthusiastic thinkers through math, science, and art. My husband and I both have engineering degrees, and we come from the countries with a big focus on math education. We make a committed effort at home to bring more math into our daughter’s life, and you can read more about our approach in my guest post for Teach Beside Me about supplementing a school math curriculum at home. This post, however, is about favorite math books. I chose to name it 10 Math Books for 10 First Years of Life, but it’s suggested age only. My daughter is only 7, and she really enjoyed all of them.

10 Books to Foster Your Child’s Love of Math

My First Lift the Flap Numbers Book

1. Children who are 1 year old are rapidly building their vocabulary and are interested in realistic representation of the world around them. We loved My First Number Lift-the-Flap Board Book, because it has bright pictures, large font, and sturdy flaps that toddlers love to explore. It does a great job introducing babies and toddlers to numbers, shapes, and colors. My daughter enjoyed this book since she was about 9 months old until she was about 3, and the flaps fared well through a period of heavy use.
Chicka Chicka 123
2. Children who are 2 years old start speaking in full sentences and enjoy fun rhymes. Chicka Chicka 123 is a classic book written by Bill Martin and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Teaches rote counting to 20, and a great companion to another classic by the same pair – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
The greedy triangle
3. Your child is 3 years old and already knows a lot about shapes and colors. He or she is also ready for longer stories. Our daughter really enjoyed The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns, and more crafty kids and parents can have a lot of fun with shape art while learning more about shapes.
It's About Time
4. Most 4 year old children will enjoy MathStart series by Stuart J. Murphy. The books are told as entertaining stories, and each book in the series focuses on one math concept (odd and even, time, more or less, etc.). We started reading these books when daughter was 3, and she was reading Level 3 books with more complex concepts before she was in kindergarten.

5. Your child is 5 years old and a kindergarten superhero. He or she might enjoy Zero the Hero tale by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenfeld. The book also “grows up” nicely – older children can learn Roman numerals from it. Same illustrator also brought us another amazing book – E-mergency!
Warlord Beads
6. Your 6 year old is becoming an independent reader, but still enjoys longer books being read to them. Depending on your child’s fluency, Virginia Pilegard’s Warlord’s series can fall into either of those categories, but it’s certainly a longer book. We also really appreciated the way Virginia Pilegard ties together literature, history and math or science in these series.
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table
7. My daughter is 7 years old now, and she is really enjoying Cindy Neuschwander’s books. Sir Cumference and the First Round Table and other books in the same series are entertaining and educational at the same time, with the focus on geometry concepts.
8. At 8 years old, your child is probably switching from picture books to chapter books. 7x9 = Trouble by Claudia Mills is not exactly a math book, even though its main character is struggling with multiplication, but it’s a book about working hard to master new concepts – something that all children need to learn how to do.
The Lemonade War
9. Your child is probably reading longer books at 9 years old and more prepared for books that have conflict and sibling rivalry in them. The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies has both, but it also has humor, business rules for beginners, and a fair amount of math. I admit that this is one book on this list that my daughter didn’t finish, because she doesn’t like characters doing mean things in the books and/or getting in trouble. I still highly recommend it.
How to Be a Math Genius
10. I arrived to the last book on this list – best suited for children 10+ years old – How to Be a Math Genius. My daughter enjoys flipping through it, but I think that the recommended age of Amazon for this book (10-14) is spot on. This book is not only for math lovers – kids who dislike math might actually discover that they are better at it than they originally thought, since a lot of clever puzzles are integrated into non-fictional material presented in this book. After bringing this book from the library twice already, we are definitely getting it for our home library.

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