Math Concepts Through Literature, a Program for Children

Math Concepts Through Literature, a Program for Children

To introduce math concepts to children in a meaningful, enjoyable manner using the books and poetry of the author.
To have children meet a published author who is also a mathematician and allow them learn about both fields: math; and writing/publishing.

Rather than segmenting education into distinct subjects, we are encouraged to present material in an interrelated context because forming connections between disciplines will reinforce knowledge and deepen understanding. The NCTM Standards and the developmental teaching of John A. Van de Walle indicate that mathematics should be taught in an integrated fashion, allowing students to see how math is related to other disciplines and to the real world.

We know that literature, good literature, speaks to the heart of a child, so we can use literature as a basis for learning and, specifically, to provide a meaningful context for mathematics. A sing-song rhyme can implant an idea; a good story can help children realize the variety of situations in which people use mathematics for real purposes and provide a way for children to make mathematics learning much more personal. And more! A good story or a silly rhyme can make math fun.

In this program, MW Penn reads her picture books and poetry and explains underlying math concepts to children grades K-5. Topics, selected by teachers and math specialists, can include:
digits of base ten and place value
plane geometry concepts such as lines, circles, polygons
standard measures and measurement
set theory
data collection and assessment

Ms. Penn uses power point presentations of her works for larger groups.

M.W. Penn began her professional career designing software and writing software manuals. She is an award winning author of four children’s picture books and poetry; her math/poetry appears in Highlights for Children and several anthologies. She presents ‘Stories that Count: Literature in the Math Classroom’ at state and regional conferences of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and has reviewed books and articles for NCTM journals.

Elementary School Classes K-5

30 minute to 45 minute sessions depending on grade level; maximum of 3 sessions/day.

Pat Vita at