We have already discussed the importance of developing a good math foundation for your preschoolers. The first, easiest, and best way to incorporate math into your child’s early life is to add math to the reading you already do with your child. It is never too early to start reading to your child, and it is never too early to add math concepts to that reading.
You don’t need to run out and buy a ton of preschool math books, although you might mention to your friends and family that math-related storybooks would be a good gift idea. You probably already have books with math concepts. For instance, Goldilocks and the Three Bears It is a wonderful story to introduce mathematical concepts. Allow early counting. It has size comparisons with too small, too big, and perfect. It has a one-to-one combination with the bear and the crib. You certainly won’t use this terminology, but as you read you may point out these concepts. Three blind mice, Three Little Pigs, Three kittens, Y Five little monkeys jumping on the bed are other good examples that you may already have.
Before spending a lot of money on books, I suggest you check your local public library. You can check out books, read them with your child, and if the book seems to be one of those books that your child wants you to read over and over again, THEN you can buy it. Certainly use your library before buying anything you haven’t read from online sources.
If you are interested in purchasing your own math related books, I have several suggestions. I am a huge fan of Dr. Seuss books. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb enter large numbers. Ten apples up! it is a good book to tell. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish it is good for counting and coloring. Horton hears who! it even introduces the concept of infinity. Many other Dr. Seuss books contain number concepts, colors, and shapes to read with your child.
You may have read or heard of Baby Einstein. If so, you should know that having your young child watch the videos is a very bad idea! Research shows that there should be NO SCREEN TIME for children under two years old and very limited time for the older child. However, Baby Einstein My first book of numbers is a wonderful example of what a picture book with numbers should look like.
The Sesame Street Book ABC and 1 2 3 it is also an excellent picture book related to mathematics.
When considering purchasing picture math books, there are a few things to consider. The book should be colorful, interesting to you, and it should make sense, not just rhyme. Don’t assume that because it’s about numbers, it’s a good book. For example, I found a book called One two Three! by Sandra Boyton. In fact, I got confused while reading! One line said “… and when you want to explore, the number you need is FOUR”. WHY? What does four have to do with exploration? Another page said “Seven is perfect for a play.” Once again, I wondered what that meant. Whatever book you choose should be something that you can talk about with your child. Choose books that you can read with enthusiasm. If a book doesn’t make sense to you, don’t buy it. I want to reiterate that it is not necessary to buy a lot of books related to numbers because you can find number concepts like counting and making comparisons in almost any book.
As you read to your child, you need to work on what is called “the language of space.” This refers to words like front, back, up, down, over, under, front, behind, first, last, inside, at, corner, edge, surface, etc. These are all important concepts for your child to understand when he starts school. They can’t line up behind the blue line if they don’t know what ‘behind’ means.
When reading to your child, be sure to:
- Hold your child on your lap.
- Let your child know how much you enjoy your reading time together.
- Read every day.
- Get involved with the story. Read with great enthusiasm and expression. Use different voices. Be active pointing out things on the pages. Ask questions.
- Pay attention to your child’s responses. Know when to put the book away. If your child loses interest, do something different.
- Be prepared to read the same book over and over and be enthusiastic each time.
Above all, make reading FUN!