Recommendation 2 of the EEF’s ‘Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1’ guidance report offers several practical ideas to integrate purposeful mathematics activities into the school day. This highlights that using storybooks can be particularly effective in providing rich opportunities for mathematical talk.
However, in and of itself, just reading these books to children is not enough to develop and extend pupils’ mathematical thinking. Instead, Clements and Sarama (2018) emphasise that children must be supported to actively engage with the mathematical concepts represented in these books, as well as to consider how these relate to their own ideas, experiences and contexts.
Drawn from the EEF’s ‘Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1’ guidance report, this new resource provides suggestions to support practitioners to plan how they will use storybook resources to maximise the potential for high-quality talk. For example, once practitioners have established shared attention such as by making ‘I wonder’ and ‘I notice’ comments about the book, this resource offers suggestions for questions which can prompt children’s reflections about mathematical concepts.
We hope that these examples support colleagues’ understanding of how to maximise the potential offered by storybooks to extend children’s mathematical thinking. Further information and guidance, including five key recommendations for teaching maths for children in this age range, can be found in the EEF’s ‘Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1’ guidance report.
Clements, D.H., and Sarama, J. (2018) Tips for Read-Alouds in Math. Retrieved from Marsico Institute, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver: https://learningtrajectories.org/documents/1582239622565.pdf (Accessed 9 November 2022)