Sparking Students’ Interest In Math

counting on 1
Sarah’s students practicing “counting on”

When it’s time for a math lesson, Sarah Richardson’s kindergarten class sits in a group, with one hand on their heads, counting on the other hand in front of them.  They’re learning addition using a method called “counting on”. This can be a very tricky skill for some of Sarah’s students.

After a tough math lesson, the students sit down to enjoy a new story.  She begins to read a book about a builder named Jack who uses different numbers of blocks to build robots, a hot dog stand and the tallest building in the world.  He adds on more and more blocks to create bigger and better structures.

Sarah’s students aren’t just enjoying a new story. As she reads, the students begin to use the skills they just learned to solve the problems in the book.

Math can be tricky for many students. Michelle Evans, a Reading and Literacy Coach at Joseph Keels Elementary in Columbia, SC has observed some of her students being timid and reserved when it comes to participating in math lessons.

They’re afraid to take risks for fear of not having the right answer,” she says.

class with book editedSarah has noticed similar behavior in her students during math class.  “Some students tend to not participate because they are shy, or feel that if someone else knows the answer first, they don’t need to answer,” she explains.

Michelle and Sarah searched for books to help those who struggled with math concepts. They recently found the MathStart series on the First Book Marketplace. The series is filled with vivid illustrations and fun, real-life stories that represent math concepts.  The books have helped their students gain confidence when participating in math lessons –and they’re more excited about math.

I’ve witnessed my students become more confident in their mathematical abilities.  The books are helping them have a deeper understanding of math,” says Michelle.

Sarah’s students love to read the books on their own after they’ve discussed them in class.

IMG_4606editSarah and Michelle are not alone. First Book surveyed 89 educators who have used these books with their students and 74% said they used these books to help spark their kids’ interest in math.

Michelle has seen her students select MathStart books during independent reading.  They copy and complete word problems from the books.  They’re choosing to do math problems and understanding the concepts on their own.

First Book was able to bring this collection of books to the First Book Marketplace thanks to the support American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM.) 

Do you work with kids in need?  You can access this great math series, and many other books and resources, by signing up.