Mathematizing Children’s Literature

Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion

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Exploring the intersection of math and literacy, Mathematizing Children’s Literature asks the question, “What if we approached any story with a math lens?” Throughout the book, we learn how to select picture books to meet our math and literacy goals, and how to plan and facilitate three different kinds of read-aloud discussions. Mathematizing Children’s Literature includes dozens of suggestions for mathy read-alouds as well as guidance on choosing books in your own collection to read again with a math lens.

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“Allison and Tony have crafted such a joyful resource for educators to leverage together a love for literature, a love for math, and an intense desire to better listen to and honor the voices and lived experiences of the children who grace our classroom spaces.”

Angela Chan Turrou
co-editor of Choral Counting & Counting Collections


Many teachers use traditional counting and shape books in math class. But what would happen if we approached any story with a math lens? How might mathematizing children’s literature give learners space to ask their own questions and make connections between stories, their lives, and the world around them? These are the questions Allison Hintz and Antony T. Smith set out to explore in this book as they invite us to consider fresh ways of using interactive read-alouds to nurture students as both readers and mathematicians.

Inside Mathematizing Children’s Literature, you’ll learn how to do the following:

  • Select picture books according to the goals of the read aloud experience.
  • Plan and facilitate three kinds of read aloud discussions—Open Notice and Wonder, Math Lens, and Story Explore.
  • Utilize Idea Investigations—experiences that invite students to pursue literacy and math-focused ideas beyond the pages of the read aloud.
  • Connect with students’ families and communities through stories.

Along the way, Allison and Antony offer a wide range of picture book suggestions and appendices that include ready-to-use planning templates, a note-taking form, and a bookmark of guiding questions. Mathematizing Children’s Literature is a practical resource you’ll find yourself referring to frequently.

About the Author(s)

Allison Hintz is an associate professor of mathematics education at the University of Washington, Bothell. She studies teaching and learning alongside educators to create experiences where children are heard, understood, and inspired as mathematical sense makers. Allison is co-author, with Elham Kazemi, of Intentional Talk. Allison tweets @allisonhintz124.


Antony T. Smith is an associate professor of literacy education at the University of Washington, Bothell. He works alongside teachers to create engaging literacy-mathematics learning experiences through exploring and discussing children’s literature. He is committed to the concepts of motivation, engagement, challenge, and creativity in literacy teaching and learning. Antony tweets @smithant.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Christopher Danielson


Note to Readers

Chapter 1: Celebrating the Joy and Wonder of Children’s Thinking

Chapter 2: Mathematizing Interactive Read-Alouds

Chapter 3: Book Types and Selection

Chapter 4: Open Notice and Wonder Reads

Chapter 5: Focused Reads: Story Explore and Math Lens

Chapter 6: Idea Investigations: Extending the Read-Aloud Experience

Chapter 7: Learning Together as Educators

Chapter 8: Family and Community Connections


Appendix A: Open Notice and Wonder Planning Template

Appendix B: Questions as Refrain Bookmark

Appendix C: Focused Read Planning Template

Appendix D: Idea Investigation Planning Template

Appendix E: Listening to Students at Work Note-Taking Form

Professional Resources and References

Children’s Literature Bibliography




Product Details

Grades: PreK, K, 1, 2, 3
Media: 240 pp/paper
Year: 2021
Item No: 1158
ISBN: 978-1-62531-158-0
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers