New to using books for teaching Math? Fret not, we got you covered!

Here are some generic tips and things you can apply for your next book in Math class:

## Before reading

### [DO] Check for prior knowledge.

This can be through a quick quiz, discussion, video, game – the possibilities are endless! The key is to keep this segment short. You just want to refresh their memory and do some quick recap if they are not certain. This ensures that everyone is on the same page (pun intended) before we dive into the book together!

*For each book covered on this site, we include the prior knowledge expected for each topical learning.

### [THINK] What do you think this book is about?

This question could be asked by cueing the book title or the visuals on the book cover. You could also ask more specifically about a word in the title, especially if it is a math vocabulary word that they will be learning about! (E.g. ‘remainder’ as in ‘A Remainder of One’). This discussion should be kept to a minimum, just enough to pique their interest for the book. If there are any inputs that you know will be mentioned later, be sure to do a mental note of who and what was said (see section on ‘After reading’).

### [THINK] Ask a question (or two) for them to think about as you go through the book.

An optional to-do, but it can help to anchor the focus of the lesson. Of course, we don’t want this question to be a spoiler for the story. As an example for the book ‘Equal Schmequal’, a pre-book question could be, “What is equal in this book?” This keeps the class on their toes, on the lookout for equality though they would not know what quite to expect. At the same time, it doesn’t reveal much about the book since the word is in the book title itself! If you’re unsure what question(s) to pose, try working backwards. What is the key takeaway you want the kids to have?

## While reading

### [DO] Create avenues for engagement.

This could be in various forms, depending on the book, your style and preference and the learners’ profile. Here are some considerations on what the kids could do!

- Jot down details to a question you’ve asked them
- Follow along with the story with little manipulatives – this is especially nice if there are different phases or representations (E.g. Spaghetti and Meatballs)
- Role-playing of the story – pick actors from your class and they can read the dialogue!
- Plan out your boardwork beforehand. Are there any mathematical notes you want to make? These can include equations, symbols, words, diagrams that could either be a point of reference during and after reading or something you want to revisit for the mathematical learning later without disrupting the reading momentum now
- Ask questions. Would you do the same if you were xxx? What do you think will happen next? Do you have any ideas on how to solve the problem?

## After reading

### [THINK] Close the book and bring back some earlier inputs.

This includes mentioning relevant guesses on story prediction (“So, xxx was right! The book is about the numbers making friends!”) and meanings for math vocabulary (“Earlier, xxx said that fractions are smaller than numbers. What do all of you think, now that we have read the story?”). Each time you make a reference is an opportunity to spotlight a different student, making him or her feel valued! The premise for this is a safe class environment so that even if their inputs are up for debates, the discussion is an intellectual one (rather than to ridicule at others).

### [THINK] Did you enjoy the book?

You can either ask this question by including a simple three-emoji feedback in a worksheet later, or ask them to show their thumbs (thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs sideways?). There are several benefits to asking this. As your learners are made to consciously evaluate how they felt about the book, you glean insights on what type of books they enjoy. Remember to acknowledge that it is fine to say “I didn’t really enjoy this.” After all, we are allowed to have our own opinions (respectfully, of course)! But after reading a variety of math books, even the most reluctant learner in your classroom is bound to enjoy at least one, and that is a positive shift in attitude towards mathematics! Asking them for their opinion also shows that you value their thinking. We definitely want to validate their thoughts and encourage them to verbalise their thinking more often in mathematics. You can also invite them to share what they liked or disliked. Their perspectives might surprise you!

### [THINK] Revisit the pre-reading question you’ve asked or the boardwork.

Transit to the mathematical focus. As with any mathematical teaching, plan how you would explain each concept. What examples (and non-examples) would you use?

### [SOLVE] Introduce an extension or variation of the problem solved in the book.

Such an activity reinforces the learning and changes them from passive learners to active ones. To ease your planning, just change a number and keep the rest. Having read a book, you don’t even have to create a context! Perhaps the main character came to pose them the problem! A timed challenge? A group task? The sky’s the limit! Bonus if they get to practise mathematical language or representations!

## Make it a routine

If you intend to use books more in your lessons, it would definitely pay off to set a routine in place! These may overlap with the class rules and routines you already have. Be sure to customize one that you can maintain and grow with! Some thoughts:

**Seating layout**. Do they need to move or change seats to see the visuals on the book?**Collecting and distributing**manipulatives or worksheet resources. Efficiency is the aim!**Respect the speaker**(whether the narrator, the person role-playing, someone answering or asking a question). That also means having one voice at a time.- A
**safe environment**to speak up and out. There should not be judgements for comments. **Answering questions**. You could establish how many responses you would take per question asked, say three. And to manage expectations that they will not always get called each time they put up their hands. Having this conversation saves you time and effort from repeating each time you read!**Reflection/feedback**about the book and lesson. Do you want to set up a bulletin board for this channel? Or a document you could repeatedly print and use. Or simply, have a thumbs response.

## Conclusion

You certainly don’t have to do everything, but these can get you started on your book-and-teaching journey! As with anything and everything, practice (the word every math teacher is bound to say at some point) makes perfect! So don’t worry if you feel like you need more time to plan with your first few books. It DOES get easier! Be sure to check out some of our book reviews for specific questions and activities you can do!

Don’t see a Math book you have in mind? Give us a nudge here!