Storytelling Math

TERC is collaborating with Charlesbridge Publishing to develop picture books that meld story, racial diversity, and math and are written by “ownvoices” authors.

Lead Staff:
Marlene Kliman
Project Staff:
Valerie Martin
Audrey Martínez-Gudapakkam
Nuria Jaumot-Pascual

Summary

Storytelling Math is centered on two interrelated goals:

  • Expand the mathematical content in trade storybooks for ages 0–5 to include often-overlooked topics that are critical to building mathematical understanding, including patterns, spatial relationships, measurement, and sorting;
  • Expand images and contexts of characters in such books, to reflect families from traditionally under-represented groups and give all readers an inclusive vision of mathematical thinkers.

To address these goals, TERC is collaborating with Charlesbridge Publishing to develop picture books that meld story, racial diversity, and math and are written by “ownvoices” authors (authors whose characters reflect their own racial background). We anticipate publication of approximately 40 books in English and Spanish. Book creators include nationally-known, award-winning authors and illustrators of varied racial backgrounds. In a related pilot effort, TERC collaborated with publisher Star Bright Books to develop board books that combine math, story, and racial diversity, with editions in Chinese, English, Hindi, Hmong, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Research Activity

TERC is investigating impacts of distributing these books to low-income, low-literacy families via partnerships with Reach Out and Read and Too Small To Fail/The Clinton Foundation. Preliminary results suggest that the books can serve to spark productive adult-child math interactions, demonstrate developmentally appropriate mathematical thinking, and help children recognize organic and genuine uses of math in everyday life.

Impact

With sales conducted in conjunction with Charlesbridge’s distribution partner Penguin Random House, this project is helping to re-shape national conceptions of what constitutes math for ages 0-5, who can do math, and ways in which parents and caregivers can organically support children’s math learning as part of story reading at home.

Books Currently Available from Charlesbridge

 

Books Available from Star Bright Books

 

Hands On! Magazine

Storytelling Math: Picture books as a vehicle for expanding views of math and who can do it