Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Read-Alouds and Math ... Perfect Together!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I just love a read-aloud that supports math teaching! Even the most reluctant math student can be drawn in by a good story. Sometimes coming at a concept from a different direction may be just what a struggler needs to make things "click"!

Shaping Up Summer, part of the Math in Nature series, is newly published by Owl Kids Books, which is associated with Chickadee magazine. The author is Lizann Flatt.

Product Details

The premise of the book is how things in nature might be different if animals and plants knew what people do about numbers, specifically geometry. On the first few pages, it seemed like this would be a pretty standard search and find book. But as it goes on, it gets into some pretty interesting and sophisticated stuff!
Examples: find the lines that aren't parallel ... which 3D shapes have circle faces... which animals are symmetrical, and where would their line of symmetry be ... which words describe relational positions... obviously a lot more than just search and find! There are so many opportunities in this book for lots of math conversations at many levels, to keep many levels of learners engaged.
This spread gives you a better idea of what I mean, plus it shows you the intricate and beautiful collage illustrations. The math concept here is discovering the rule. The text reads, "Should skunks sketch warning shapes onto the ground before turning their black-and-white backsides around? Which skunk has made only triangles? What shape rules are the other skunks following?" {Okay, I guess that was a weird page to quote, but you must admit that if any of your kiddos had gone off into space, the word "backsides" would have brought their attention back in a hurry! :) }
Anyway, two of the skunks' footprints follow obvious rules like "all triangles", while the third is quite a bit trickier to discover - and there's your differentiation!

The poetic language of the book is beautiful ...
"Would spiders weave webs to spin silken scenes?"
"Would a newt not feel the need to hide if it knew how to show off its symmetrical side?"
There's no need to relegate this book to your pile of books about summer. Honestly, I'm not sure why the title was chosen, other than the fact that it's the last in a four-part series, and the first three were fall, spring, and winter! Summer doesn't play an important role at all in this book.
If you decide that you might be purchasing this book to add to your math read-alouds collection, I'd appreciate it if you'd use my Amazon Associates link. Thanks so much!

If you're always looking for new math story books to read to your class, you'll want to take a look at Debbie Kemp's Common Core-aligned math literature list. It's free at her TPT store!


I'm linking up again this week at Deanna Jump's blog for her weekly Let's Talk About Books Linky. Head over there for some new and wonderful book ideas for your class!


Happy Teaching!


  1. Love, love, love this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment! Isn't Deanna's linky a great way to discover new books? :)

  3. Yes, read-alouds & math definitely go hand-in-hand! Thanks for the introduction to a new must-have! I will absolutely be using your link to add it to my cart:) I would love if you could stop by my blog for a peek at my kid-lit pic & a fun fall FREEBIE!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Amber. Enjoy the book! I'm headed over to check out your blog!

  4. I was beginning to think I owned ALL the good math literature out there (seriously I have a FULL bookshelf now!) but this one is new to me! Looks GREAT!!!

    The Math Maniac

    1. Books are truly addicting, Tara... and isn't that a wonderful thing? :) The book that I plan to feature next week is also a math book of sorts. It's a regular (very) old book that I like to put a math spin on!


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