Do trade books have a place in today’s mathematics classroom? Yes! Incorporating literature into the mathematics classroom will increase engagement, make mathematics come alive and give meaning to students, as well as help differentiate instruction and support ELL/ESL students. Using literature helps students build a conceptual understanding of mathematical topics via the illustrations. Rich problems and tasks can be generated based upon the story being read as well as opportunities for writing original stories, explanations, predictions, etc.
Reading stories spark a student’s imagination and can allow them an opportunity to see a context for a problem or situation and visualize it in a way that the same problem in a textbook or on a worksheet might not. Using literature also bridges the gap for students who are verbal learners and who love to read but may not enjoy working with numbers as much.
This list contains Tammy’s favorite trade books she used frequently in her K-12 classrooms. Feel free to add to this list for your home and classroom library.