Maths Through Stories – 24 Amazing Books to Make Learning Fun!

I love nothing more than a good book and teaching maths through stories makes learning so much more fun for children – in fact, a lot of the time they don’t even realise that they are learning! As well as that, they help children to see the relevance of maths in their own lives and introduce them to maths vocabulary in a natural way.

We wouldn’t dream of teaching children literacy without the use of a good story and I believe that should also be true of maths. As it can be difficult to match a good book to the maths objective you want to teach I am going to use this blog to help you do just that. I have taken different areas of the math’s curriculum and found books that link particularly well to them so that you can teach maths through stories.

Maths through stories – Subitising

“The Little Dots – Friends You Can Count On” By Alison Flanagan

Maths Through Stories

I am bound to like this book as I wrote it! Even though I do say so myself, it is a great little book for introducing children to numbers 1 to 5 and subitising (the instant recognition of quantities). Hidden in the book are also lots of opportunities to practise counting and ordering numbers.

For more information and activities linked to this book visit Counting Activities with The Little Dots

“Anno’s Counting Book” by Mitsumasa Anno

This book explores a range of mathematical concepts and relationships. There are a variety of subitising patterns and arrangements with a vast number of objects in the landscape. Anno’s Counting Book offers lots of discussion about number as children are invited to explore the detailed illustrations.

Maths Through Stories – Number Recognition

Absolutely One Thing (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child

There are some quite difficult concepts in this story running alongside more simple ones but it encourages lots of mathematical discussion at whatever level the children are able to understand. As well as number recognition, it encourages children to count different objects and explores very large numbers.

Maths Through Stories – Counting Forwards

“Alfie’s Numbers” by Shirley Hughes

Alfie teaches Annie Rose to count. He goes around the house counting different quantities of objects up to 10.

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh

A hungry snake captures mice and counts them carefully. This book also offers an opportunity to count backwards as the mice escape one by one.

Maths Through Stories – Counting Forwards/One More

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

Count along with the hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week. This book also touches on the topic of time.

Maths Through Stories – Counting Backwards/One Less

“The Shopping Basket” by John Burningham

Steven is sent out for a set amount of different groceries but encounters a number of problems on the way home which result in him returning home with one less than everything he should have brought back. The quantities and changes in quantity are beautifully depicted in the illustrations and offer lots of opportunity for discussion.

“Ten Little Ladybirds” by Melanie Gerth

One by one the ladybirds disappear encouraging the children to count backwards while introducing them to the concept of one less.

“Ten Little Pirates” by Michael Brownlow

Join the pirates on a rhyming adventure as they disappear one by one. There are a number of other books in this series, all with a similar concept – monsters, superheroes, princesses …

Maths Through Stories – One More

Handa’s Hen by Eileen Browne

Handa’s hen goes missing. As, she and her friend Akeyo go to hunt for her they encounter different quantities of animals until they find the hen.

Maths Through Stories – Ordinal Numbers

“10 Little Rubber Ducks” by Eric Carle

This book is based on a true story about a shipment of rubber ducks which end up falling overboard. One by one the ducks have a different adventure.

Maths Through Stories – Estimation

“Guess How Many” by Alison Flanagan

Guess How Many

Another one written by myself. “Guess How Many” introduces children to the idea of estimation and what it means to estimate accurately. This captivating story introduces us to Daisy Duncan who dreams of being a teacher. She attempts to teach her brother Derek how to estimate and in the process teaches the reader too, without them even realising it.

It is an excellent way to introduce a topic on estimation and gives children a good understanding of what it entails before they begin to explore it practically for themselves. It can be revisited on a number of occasions as the children begin to understand the concepts and consolidate their learning. Although this is essentially a book about estimation there are lots of other mathematical concepts permeating throughout the book

Maths Through Stories – Sharing

“The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins

Another old one! Mum makes cookies to share and there are plenty until the doorbell rings and more and more people arrive.

Maths Through Stories – Shape

“Bear in A Square” by Stella Blackstone

Look for lots of different shapes with bear in this delightful picture book. There are basic shapes as well as hearts, diamonds, stars, crescents and zig-zags often hidden within the illustrations, encouraging children to examine the pictures more closely to find those shapes that are not easily seen.

“Mouse Shapes” by Ellen Stolle Walsh

Three mice try to escape the cat, encountering lots of different shapes as they do. A lovely book demonstrating how shapes can be used to make a range of pictures.

Maths Through Stories – Measure

“Jim and the Beanstalk” by Raymond Briggs

This story introduces the idea of measuring. Jack measures different parts of the giant in order to bring him gifts. A good way to introduce the language of size and measure.

“Titch” by Pat Hutchins

Titch is the smallest in his family. Everyone has bigger and better things until one day he plants a tiny seed.

“Washing Line” by Jez Alborough

Who do the clothes on the washing line belong to? There’s a bit of a clue in the size. Children will enjoy guessing as they lift the flap find out if they are right.

Maths Through Stories – Pattern

“Hooray for Fish” by Lucy Cousins

Explore pattern as the little fish goes on an underwater journey and encounters a whole range of fish with various patterns – spots, stripes, stars etc.

“Elmer” by David McKee

Another fantastic story for exploring pattern. Elmer the elephant doesn’t like being different so he decides to play a trick on the other elephants and lots more patterns appear in the story as a result.

“My Mum and Dad Make Me Laugh” by Nick Sharratt

Another lovely book to explore an array of patterns!

Maths Through Stories – Time

“What’s The Time Mr. Wolf?” by Colin Hawkins

This book is a very old book but offers a lovely introduction to time. Mr. Wolf is asked the time and he repeats different times which are also displayed on a clock.

“The Bad Tempered-Ladybird” by Eric Carle

Each hour of the day goes by and the time is depicted on a clock as the bad tempered lady bird encounters different creatures that he tries to pick a fight with. At the end of the story, time passes by in shorter 15 minute periods, introducing children to quarter past, half past and quarter to.

Maths Through Stories – Money

“The Great Pet Sale” by Mick Inkpen

Another old book so can be difficult to get hold of unless you have a copy hidden away somewhere. This book introduces the children to money as the little boy in the story considers which pet he might want to buy.

If you have books that you use to teach maths through stories please don’t forget to share them in the comments below.