1st Edition

Mathematizing Children's Literature Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion

By Allison Hintz, Antony T. Smith Copyright 2022

    Many teachers use traditional counting and shape books in math class. But what would happen if we approached any story with a math lens? How might mathematizing children's literature give learners space to ask their own questions, and make connections between stories, their lives, and the world around them? These are the questions authors Allison Hintz and Antony T. Smith set out to explore in Mathematizing Children's Literature: Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion as they invite us to consider fresh ways of using interactive read-alouds to nurture students as both readers and mathematicians.

    Inside Mathematizing Children's Literature, you'll learn how to do the following:

    • Select picture books according to the goals of the read aloud experience
    • Plan and facilitate three styles of read aloud discussions - Open Notice and Wonder, Math Lens, and Story Explore
    • Utilize Idea Investigations - experiences that invite students to pursue literacy and math-focused ideas beyond the pages of the read aloud
    • Connect with students' families and communities through stories

    Along the way, Hintz and Smith provide a wide range of picture book suggestions and appendices that include ready-to-use lesson planning templates, a form for notes, and a bookmark of guiding questions. Mathematizing Children's Literature is a practical resource you'll find yourself referring to frequently.

    Chapter 1: Celebrating the Joy and Wonder of Children's Thinking; Chapter 2: Mathematizing Interactive Read-Alouds; Chapter 3: Book Types and Selection; Chapter 4: Open Notice and Wonder Reads; Chapter 5: Focused Reads: Story Explore and Math Lens; Chapter 6: Idea Investigations: Extending the Read-Aloud Experience; Chapter 7: Learning Together as Educators; Chapter 8: Family and Community Connections


    Allison Hintzis an associate professor of mathematics education at the University of Washington, Bothell. She studies teaching and learning alongside educators to create experiences where children are heard, understood, and inspired as mathematical sense-makers. Allison is co-author, with Elham Kazemi, of Intentional Talk. Allison tweets @allisonhintz124.Antony T. Smithis an associate professor of literacy education at the University of Washington, Bothell. He works alongside teachers to create engaging literacy-mathematics learning experiences through exploring and discussing children's literature. He is committed to the concepts of motivation, engagement, challenge, and creativity in literacy teaching and learning. Antony tweets @smithant.

    “Allison and Tony have crafted such a joyful resource for educators to leverage together a love for literature, a love for math, and an intense desire to better listen to and honor the voices and lived experiences of the children who grace our classroom spaces. I am beyond excited for this idea of truly student-driven read-alouds that take up children’s mathematical curiosities to be the talk of upcoming PLC, hallway, and Twitter conversations. Thank you for sharing your learning journey with us, Allison and Tony, and for supporting ours.” —Angela Chan Turrou, Co-editor of Choral Counting and Counting Collections

    “Hintz and Smith have offered a way to ensure that the rigors of mathematical learning and the beauty of literature are attained without sacrificing either. The emphasis on children’s thinking, voice, and mathematical wonderings bring literature alive in ways that hold a space for children to learn about themselves and the world. In doing so, they embody the true nature of elementary education at its interdisciplinary best.” —Nancy Frey, San Diego State University

    “I love the idea of supporting kids' innate sense of joy and wonder to encourage seeing their world through a math lens. Throughout my life, I never considered myself a ‘curious mathematician,’ and instead felt quite disconnected, and frankly inadequate, when it came to all-things-involving-math. But ‘mathematizing’ literature would have been just the thing to pull me in as a kid. Thanks to Allison and Tony, I have a new way of looking at books! I can't wait to use these new skills, and ways of thinking, to encourage the little readers and mathematicians in my life!” —Gaia Cornwall, Author and Illustrator of the Charlotte Zolotow Honoree and Amazon Best Children’s Book of the Year, Jabari Jumps

    "At its core, this book focuses on the belief that listening to a child’s thinking is some of the most important work we do as educators. This book will undoubtedly become a must-have for all primary educators." —Zak Champagne, Lead teacher, The Discovery School, Jacksonville Beach, FL

    “Grounded in curiosity and wonder, Allison and Antony share ways teachers can engage their students in conversations about texts before, during, and after reading that develop math identities while also bringing literature and math together. The templates included for planning an interactive read aloud are practical and provide multiple opportunities to invite mathematicians to notice, wonder about, and explore beautifully written text." —Whitney La Rocca, Co-author of Patterns of Wonder and Patterns of Power

    “Wow! I wish every teacher preparation program provided preservice elementary school teachers with a copy of Mathematizing Children’s Literature. It will inspire everyone to look at math and children’s literature in a new way.” —John Schu, Author of The Gift of Story

    "This book will be a valuable and timeless resource for any teacher that believes that the power of children's curiosity, imagination, and identity is rooted in the magical intersection of their literature and mathematics.” —Sunil Singh, Author of Pi of Life, Math Recess, and Chasing Rabbits

    “Joy, wonder, and playfulness exude through the examples of children’s mathematical thinking about lovely children’s literature selections throughout this book." —Janice Novakowski, District Teacher Consultant & Adjunct Professor