Welcome to Nonfiction Monday! If you'd like to participate, please leave the link to your post in the comments, and I will add it to the post, Nonfiction Monday Roundup of Book Reviews, sometime between 9 am and 5 pm ET. If you're new to this weekly blog event, please check that post later tonight or tomorrow for a complete list of this week's great links to nonfiction book reviews.
Today, I'd like to return to the subject of math, which often seems to take a back seat to the teaching of reading during the early years of a child's life. It doesn't have to be that way.
To me, true literacy involves every subject. Even math. Especially math.
When math, literacy, and any and all subjects collide, starting at a very young age, learning starts to come naturally to children. There's no time for anxiety about any particular subject to set in because the foundation has been set. Gradually, yes, but since when does rushing through anything inspire anyone?
One way for children of all ages to connect multiple subjects is by playing around with patterns. Just think about it. Patterns can be found in art, nature, and in numbers. It's a pretty amazing subject, if it's presented in an appealing way. And when you use a children's book to spark interest, it's a perfect example of a math/literacy/science/art (and even history) connection.
So, here are some children's books (some fiction and some nonfiction, because the two make a very powerful combination) relating to patterns for children up to the age of about 16:
- Pattern Fish, by Trudy Harris, introduces simple patterns using vivid colors and rhyming prose. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 will love the ocean theme (the fish have the cutest facial expressions) and the flow of the text. Many art, math, and science activities would go along nicely with a read-aloud of this adorable picture book. You can find some examples at the previous post, Skipping Counts!
- Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers is Nature, by Sarah C. Campbell, is a photographic book which brings a somewhat mysterious subject to life for children between the ages of 8 and 12. It could be paired with a nature walk to count the petals on flowers, or children might enjoy examining actual pinecones and pineapples! You can find out more about Fibonacci numbers here, and some great lesson and discussion ideas here.
- A Cloak For The Dreamer (Brainy Day Books), by Aileen Friedman, is a work of fiction, with a geometry-related nonfiction supplement at the end. This engaging story can be used to introduce the concept of patterns using geometric shapes. Older children (between the ages of 8 and 12) will love to design colorful patterns with tessellations. When art, math, and literacy collide, learning becomes magical for many students.
- Introduction to Tessellations, by Dale Seymour and Jill Britton, is for older children (between the ages of 11 and 16) who want to learn more about tessellations. It also contains dot paper and sketching grids (with different geometric patterns) at the end, which makes it easy for people of all ages to design their own colorful tessellations.
Once children are introduced to the concept of patterns as it relates to art, math, and science, they're more likely to notice the many patterns that are all around them on a daily basis. Learning becomes more meaningful, relevant, and most importantly, fun.
They might even begin to see patterns in the stories they read and write! They could be fiction or nonfiction, cartoons or essays. It doesn't matter. The important thing is that the candle has been lit.
And so, I'd like to close by reminding you of a famous quote:
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~William Butler Yeats
The same is true for parenting, is it not?
I hope you learn something with your child every day this week! Have a great one.
Please don't forget to check out this week's Nonfiction Monday Roundup of Book Reviews. Enjoy!