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Math by the Book

Through Stories, Math Comes to Life

Stories create a space where students can explore their mathematical thinking and understanding in unique ways. Children's literature offers memorable opportunities to discuss mathematical ideas and connect those ideas to meaningful contexts. The Math by the Book series is dedicated to teaching mathematics strategically through literature. Real learning comes from authentically and purposefully linking a story to important mathematical concepts.

A Closer Look at Math by the Book

Every Math by the Book grade-level package includes:

A curated list of children's literature linked with math skills and concepts

Classroom-tested lessons and activities aligned with every children's book

Discussion prompts and project ideas for extending student thinking

On-demand video coaching and supporting online resources

Connecting Literacy to Math

Listen to Sue O'Connell talk about the value of math literacy integration.

A Math Resource that Makes the Grade

Math by the Book is a grade-by-grade resource (K-5). Each book features children's literature and a collection of activities and teaching strategies that uniquely address critical grade-specific skills and content.

You can preview the full list of children's books that are highlighted at each grade level.

A Library of Lessons, Strategies, Activities, and More!

examples of lesson materials

Every children's book highlighted in Math by the Book includes a menu of tasks, tips, and strategies, including questions to pose, investigations to explore, problems to solve, questions to spur discussions, and projects to extend students' thinking. You'll find examples of student work and have access to online resources to allow you to easily replicate the tasks with students.

Now Featuring: Great Children's Literature

Each grade-level package comes with a featured text, one of the children's books highlighted at each grade. To support the use of children's literature in math, there are additional coaching notes, features, and online resources related to the featured text.

These are the featured texts at each grade level:

  • Kindergarten: Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
  • First Grade: Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin
  • Second Grade: Max’s Words by Kate Banks
  • Third Grade: Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed
  • Fourth Grade: Sweet Potato Pie by Kathleen D. Lindsey
  • Fifth Grade: Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina

Video Coaching on Your Schedule

table viewing Sue O'ConnellMath by the Book includes access to on-demand video coaching from Sue O'Connell. These coaching sessions can be viewed on your own or with colleagues as part of a professional learning experience. Topics include book selection, choosing a math focus, and developing related lessons and activities.

A Perfect Summer School Pairing

Math by the Book is also an effective resource for reteaching or reinforcing important math concepts and skills as part of a summer learning program. The lessons and activities built around the context of great children's literature are perfect for helping learning stick in ways that worksheets don’t.


Meet the Authors

Sue O’Connell has decades of experience supporting teachers in making sense of mathematics and effectively shifting how they teach. A former elementary teacher, reading specialist, and math coach, she is also a nationally known speaker and education consultant who currently directs Quality Teacher Development, an organization providing math professional development for schools and districts across the country. Sue is also the lead author of the Math in Practice series. Connect with Sue on Twitter @SueOConnellMath.

Sue and her Math by the Book coauthors (Jonelle Bell, Laura Connell, Marcy Myers, Georgina Rivera, Dawn Jacobs, Brandi Moore, T.J. Jemison, Gabr’l Stackhouse, Donna Boucher, Mary Trinkle, Danielle Moore, and Margie Pearse) work in diverse schools and communities throughout the United States. Together, they selected children’s literature, developed lessons and activities, tested ideas with students, and gathered feedback from educators across the country.