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  • Writer's pictureKristy Johnson

Why You Should Connect Math and Literacy (Plus a FREEBIE!)

Updated: May 16, 2023

Do you connect math and literacy in your classroom? Did you know that there are HUGE benefits to doing this?! Connecting literacy in math allows students to see the real world perspective of why we need math. This allows students to see that all subjects really are intertwined and rely on one another in order to be successful.

  • We need literature to be able to read the word problems in math.

  • We need literature to be able to understand and explain the process of solving the word problems in math.

  • Math literacy allows us to problem solve and determine what real world problem we are trying to solve.

Read alouds have always been stressed during reading class-but what about math? Having a read aloud during the math block allows us to make connections and have more opportunities for literacy. Students are very inquisitive, so integrating those literacy skills into math will only help strengthen their language skills, while they are learning math concepts.

According to Scholastic, “Most people think of mathematics as separate from language and literacy. But, as the conversation between the two children illustrates, there is more overlap between language and mathematics than we might think. Seeing those connections, teachers can help children "double their learning" with math and literacy activities.”

We know that building children's vocabularies helps them understand the stories they hear, and, eventually, read. But think about how many mathematical words and ideas are important for understanding stories. Consider "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." There's a number-three-right away. But there is also ordering (small, medium, large and cold, warm, hot), correspondences between ordered sets (the smallest bed for the smallest bear, the next larger for the next larger bear), and patterning (the repeated phrase, too little, too big, just right). This is one example of why connecting math and literacy is so important to help build students’ understanding of how both work together.

If you are teaching Fractions this year, here is a full blog post about my FIVE favorite fraction read aloud books!

Here are some ways you can connect math and literacy:

  1. Talk about numbers, orderings, correspondences, and patterns as you read picture books.

  2. Read the book through first, and then reread it to discuss the mathematical ideas.

  3. Name groups of things children see on the pages with numbers and shape names, such as, "Look at those three beautiful flowers. What shape are those petals?"

  4. After sharing stories that invite children to compare sizes, such as chairs, bowls, and beds in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," invite children to order sticks or blocks by lengths. Then give them further opportunities to classify by sorting buttons, bottle caps, and leaves.

Are you intrigued yet?! One characteristic of children who do better than others in math is that they can explain and justify the mathematics they are doing. At the same time, one of the best predictors of later success in school mathematics is how well children understand and tell stories. I have started connecting math and literacy in my classroom and guess what-it has gone very well! It’s gone so well that I want to let you all know what I am doing and share some ideas with you for how to connect math and literacy.

Do you follow me on Instagram yet? Here is where I post all about new books I find and how I use them in my classroom for connecting literacy and math!

Here are some of the topics I share books for:

  • Place value

  • Angles

  • Remainders

  • Division

  • Multiplication

  • Circumference

  • Cones

  • Zero

  • Millions

  • So Much More!

Oh and did I mention that there will be freebies that I give you then too?! Just like this FREE Instagram Post Template !

I like to use this with my students for numbers. I typically read the book that I will share on my Instagram live on Thursday as a read aloud during math (HINT...HINT...Did you go follow me yet?!) and then I assign each student a number. Then, students create an instagram post from that number’s point of view about what people typically think of when they hear that number. My students always had a lot of fun with it! Most of them know what instagram is from their parents being on it and think it is super fun to “Create their own post” while at school! They also get really creative-which I love to watch!

Are you ready to connect math and literacy more in your classroom yet?! I hope that you will follow me on Instagram and follow along with me each week to learn the tips and tricks that I will be sharing about why you should connect math and literacy in your classroom!!

Finally-if you are not yet an email subscriber yet, make sure to subscribe ASAP because I am giving away some fun things to my email subscribers also right now! Not to mention-if you subscribe to my email list, you will see that I am sharing some exciting news from my personal life this week also!

What are you doing in your classroom to connect math and literacy?

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