Links to Literacy activities help students strengthen their understanding of basic mathematical concepts while improving their fluency with written English, through the use of children’s math literature. Each Links to Literacy assignment connects a math-themed children’s book to a topic in our Prealgebra course curriculum. The children’s books give students an alternate, and usually simple, view of the Prealgebra topics and show how they apply to common life situations. They help fill in the ‘holes’ in our students’ math background, and they give students an unanticipated opportunity to use their critical thinking skills.
Each Links to Literacy worksheet poses a series of questions to the students, progressing developmentally from retelling the story, explaining how the book helps children learn the math topic, applying the concepts to their lives, reading the book to a child, doing an activity with the child, and, finally, reporting on the child’s reaction to the book and activity. Our students become empowered as they take on the role of a teacher, reading and explaining math to the children in their lives.
Teachers find that the Links to Literacy activities give them valuable insight into their students’ thought processes. The worksheets can be used as homework, group activities, or extra credit assignments.
Our college students appreciate the benefits they get from the Links to Literacy activities. Here are some of their comments:
- “You learn the concepts of math in a fun way.”
- “It was helpful…simple and concrete enough to grasp.”
- “It’s a chance to connect what is being taught in a basic way.”
- “It’s a fun way to learn more about math, even for us who are older.”
Lists of math-themed children’s books may be found at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website and the websites of individual state departments of education.
To download a sample of our Links to Literacy activities, click here.