Answering the question, “How many?” is central in children’s everyday lives. Seeking to make sense of the world, children count anything and everything as they make order out of chaos. Counting has rules that children learn through many, many experiences when they engage in counting. To count accurately, children say the number names in order, touch objects as they count, and name the set by its total quantity. Books are effective springboards that encourage kids to want to count.
To encourage and develop children’s counting knowledge, here are eight books that are common to preschool classrooms. You can encourage a home-to-school connection by utilizing books that you possibly already have in your collection. Create a check out system for these books and insert these easily downloadable tasks written in both English and Spanish. Using the books and tasks both at school and at home will create multiple opportunities for the children to engage in the Big Ideas of counting.
Count! by Denise Fleming
This wonderful book illustrates numbers one through 10 and then counts on by tens. Each number is illustrated with an uncommon animal from gnus to kangaroos. It can spark a lot of conversation and creativity!
Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
This favorite book of ours takes the reader on a journey through the four seasons of the year with numbers 1 to 12. Numbers are represented by numerals, cubes and many sets of objects in the beautiful scenes depicted in this wordless counting book.
Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
In both English and Spanish, this book has simple pictures and text. On each page the artist adds one more dot and thinks of new designs to make with the growing number. It’s an effective springboard for many hours of creativity, combining art and math.
Count and See by Tana Hoban
This book connects numerals with dot representations and real life photos for each number one to fifteen. After that it jumps to twenty and continues by tens until one hundred. As a wordless book with everyday photographs, it creates opportunities for rich discussion around the question, “How Many?”
Count Me In / ¡Cuenta Conmigo! by Cynthia Weill
This is a page turner that combines number and Oaxacan clay art to create a bilingual counting book. Counting books like this can be read and discussed simply with just the number words or you can dive in deeper by using the brief text that accompanies each collection.
Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh
This common classroom book tells the story of a very hungry snake. He is on the hunt. He finds some mice to eat but something surprising happens. Children love to listen to this story and retell it many times over. Watch one example in action: Mouse Collections.
Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert
This book follows one fish on a journey as it meets new groups of fish. It builds the number relationship of one more as our fish narrator finds the total of each new group of fish and then adds itself to the count. For example, “2 jumping fish plus me makes 3.”
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo: A Counting Book by Eric Carle
This book by favorite author Eric Carle follows one tiny mouse’s train ride to the zoo. As the journey continues, a new car is added with one more animal on each car, then the one before it. The entire story is told with the colorful pictures that Carle is well-known for. We see each car’s collection, as well as the entire train each time we turn the page.
Home Activity Cards: Counting
Educators and parents can download a set of activity cards (available in English and Spanish) to go along with these counting books. A great way to support family math opportunities!