Teach Addition and Subtraction- Reading Stories!

Reading can promote learning in all content areas. Teaching in predominately ESOL classroom, I love to include stories while I teach math. Parents can also purchase books connected with math. Math can be tricky to teach as well as for students to connect to math. If students are naturally good in math, they love it! If students feel nervous or do not do as well in math, they generally do not like math class. I try to incorporate as many other skills in math class so students can engage through their strengths.

In a general math lesson, I like to read a story every week to demonstrate what topic we are learning. There is a book for everything! Sometimes, I show videos of someone else reading it. I find videos like this on YouTube all the time. Crazy, huh! Next, I show examples for 5-10 minutes. The following 10-15 minutes, I have students give directions to other students or they work in partners and read the steps we created together as a class. Lastly, I give a 5-10 minute activity of independent work. Students love to engage others. Many students in my class express they begin to like math class. I teach 3rd grade. This scares me that students already associate math with fear and anxiety.

My top 5 reasons to include reading in math

1. Students love getting read to. I know even in high school, I enjoyed getting read to in classes. It’s strange and its weird but I think it reminds children or students when their parents read to them at night. Students associate read aloud to love and caring.
2. The students can understand the “why,” in math. Common Core wants students to understand the “why” and be able to express “the why” through oral and written formats. While I teach math, I constantly have students tell me “why” they added or “why” the borrowed in subtraction. Consistently giving them ways to hear and express the “why” is important.
3. Using different ways of teaching is beneficial. Some students have math anxiety. Reading a story might calm nerves and these students who do better with language skills. Teaching through their strengths might allow students to relate to math.
4. Add these books to a small library dedicated to math concepts that students can read during reading time. This promotes math concepts during reading lessons and reading skills during math lessons. Cross-curricular and making connections between subject promote and prove to show more learning. Students begin to have more long term memory about the different topics.
5. Connect writing or oral stories in the classroom. Books can encourage and be a support to help with word problems. Many books about mathematical concepts use similar language to questions in word problems. Also, word problems become less scary because they have already included reading comprehension in their math lessons.

Books for addition and subtraction

The first two books are the puppy series. Here are reviews about these series. Reading through this blog, I found so many positive reviews! They are great for younger students. Suggestions would be KG-2 grade.

The Number Tales series recieved mostly 5 stars on Amazon. From reviews, many parents who read to younger kids (3-5) found them less engaging. I reccommend these books for 1-3 grade.

If you are looking to get a set. Amazon has a set of 5 books, including the two I have here.

Only two reviews on Amazon, but both gave the next book 5 stars! I know I enjoy reading this book. This can be read to younger children still. I recommended KG-2.

The next two books are great for older students. Recommendation is 2-5 grade. Frankie Pickle is a collection of comic strip stories relating to math concepts! Engaging! No reviews were less than 3 stars on Amazon! Multiplying Meanace really engages older students in multiplication facts but students can relate through repeated addition. I love reading this story to my students.

Amazon might provide better deals, so check their prices at first!

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4 thoughts on “Teach Addition and Subtraction- Reading Stories!

  1. Emeolu

    This is informative. Lots of students are nervous when it comes to math. You will see some students who are good at reading other courses but when it comes to math, you are killing them. Reading stories about math will go a way in helping them overcome the fear. By reading stories about math, they are learning as well as having fun.

    1. Kristina Hines

      Absolutely! Let’s get those kids in school or home learning and having fun! 

  2. Hailey

    Hey there
    Thanks for the very informative article!
    My step daughter struggles a lot a school and it all comes down to her under developed reading skills! We are finding that because she is not strong at reading that she tends to fall behind in most other subjects especially maths.
    Reading is such a big part of learning!
    Thanks again for the post
    Regards Hailey

    1. Kristina Hines

      Hi Hailey, 

      One biggest thing I notice is to just encourage reading as fun. I find so many of my students dislike reading. Parents ask a lot what they can do. However, the majority of them do not read for pleasure. Kids see everything. There also could be many reasons why kids have challenges reading but I had a few dyslexic kids and the majority of my class is ESOL. I tell kids their academic levels and have them know what grade level that is. I also have them find a book in their level and a book above. They always enjoy that book above their level (because it is written to their age group.). 

      Be patient with your lovely child but also practice what your saying and she will soon see how reading can be fun. 

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