Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography: Literature Books in Mathematics


Burns, M. (2005). 3 lessons by Marilyn Burns: using storybooks to teach math. Instructor, 114(7), 27-30.


Marilyn Burns article explains how storybooks can be used to teach mathematics using her 3 favorite classroom read alouds: Quack and Count by Keith Baker, Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni, and Night Noises by Mem Fox.  She states that children’s books are a great way to trigger children’s interest and are a great math-teaching tool (pg. 27).  Furthermore, the connection of literature and math helps to ease the anxiety of “math-wary” students and vise versa those who love the abstraction of math learn to develop a liking for literature. In this article, Burns gives a breakdown of how math can be taught with literacy books and mathematics materials.  Burns shows how you can connect basic math skills with literacy integrations. It is an excellent read for teachers who are just learning how to integrate literacy into the mathematics curriculum and provides rich mathematics examples.


Cotti, R., & Schiro, M. (2004). Connecting teacher beliefs to the use of children’s literature in the teaching of mathematics. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 7(4), 329-356.


This article provides models and illustrations of how teachers can use literature books in mathematics. The study investigates two research questions, “Can an instructional tool be developed that will highlight for teachers the different ways in which they and others use children’s literature to teach mathematics?” and “Can that instructional tool stimulate teacher discussion and reflection about their own beliefs?” (pg.329) The results of the study were favorable.



Hong, H. (1996). Effects of mathematics learning through children’s literature on math achievement and dispositional outcomes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 4(11), 477-494.


This study examined the effectiveness of using children’s literature to foster mathematics learning. In which 57 kindergarten students, from two child-centered and play oriented classrooms, were randomly selected for either a control or experimental group. The experimental group received storybooks with a mathematical lesson and played with mathematical materials that related to the storybook. The control group had a storybook that did not relate to any mathematical ideas and were given mathematical materials that did not relate to the book.  The Learning Readiness Test and Early Mathematics Achievement Test were given and the results showed the experimental group did significantly better. The students were given 4 optional tasks and those in the experimental group favored the math tasks. Those in the experimental group did better in classification, number combination, and shape tasks. There was also a difference in the qualitative observance between the groups favoring literacy and math integration. 


Mink, D., & Fraser, B. (2005). Evaluation of a K-5 mathematics program which integrates children’s literature: classroom environment and attitudes. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 3, 59-85.



This article outlines and explains a one-year study that consisted of 120 students who participated in Project SMILE (Science and Mathematics Integrated with Literacy Experiences).  The overall goal of the study was to see how integrating literacy books positively affected reading, writing, and mathematics skills. The first step of the project was to get teachers using the strategies of SMILE in the classroom. In this study the researchers found their research support previous studies that had successfully combined qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data in this research found that literacy books had a positive impact on students’ attitudes towards mathematics and reading.


Moyer, P. (2000). Communicating mathematically: children’s literature as a natural connection. The Reading Teacher, 54(3), 246-255.


Moyer illustrates how she successfully integrated mathematics into her literacy lessons and offers suggestions on how to integrate literacy books. She points out that mathematical concepts naturally arise in children’s books and are usually never a focal point of teachers. This article stressed the importance of children’s literature books as a platform for problem solving, exploring real-world concepts, and investigating patterns (pg.246).  The overall purpose of the article is to show the ways in which children’s literature promotes mathematical communication. An annotated list of children’s books to teach mathematics is provided (pg.251).


Ruiz, E., Thornton, J., & Cuero, K. (2010). Integrating literature in mathematics: a

teaching technique for mathematics teacher. School Science and Mathematics, 110(5), 235-237.


This research investigation discusses the benefits of integrating literature into mathematics. Literature books that are integrated into the mathematics curriculum allow for natural repetition and contextualized scaffolding of key vocabulary that foster critical thinking.  The authors point out how important literacy integration is and a mathematics teacher who does this recognizes that mathematics involves both reading and writing. They also state that the integration of literacy is promoted but often presented as “tools for learning and understanding mathematics.” The article references a successful project originally called Creating Independence Through Student Owned Strategies (CRISS) and later called Science and Mathematics Integrated with Literacy Experiences (SMILE) that aimed to create deep learning of mathematical concepts through the use of reading, writing, and listening.  The authors state that project SMILE and CRISS improved students’ interest and confidence in math (p.235).  This article points out the many benefits of cross-content integration and the lack of integration because subjects are usually taught in isolation as a result of teacher training.


Shatzer, J. (2008). Picture book power: connecting children’s literature and mathematics. The Reading Teacher, 61(8), 649-653.


In this article the author outlines how she successfully used picture books to teach math concepts.  Providing picture books as a means of teaching mathematics allows for a natural connection. She strengthens her claim by siting Whiten and Wilde (1992, 1995) claim that literature motivates students to learn and provides a meaningful context for math (pg.649).  She stresses the importance of making a literature and math connection through picture books with the rising standards. In the new era of standards teachers are encouraged to make interdisciplinary connections and picture books are a way to do this.  This article provides a list of children’s literature with specific math content. The claims made in this article are supported by various research finds.   


Thatcher, D. (2001). Reading in math class: selecting and using picture books for math investigations. young children, July, 20-21.


This article was a basic overview on how  to select picture books for math class and offered suggestions on how to effectively use them. The four suggestions in selecting a book are: is it a book you would read in general, does it spark interest, can students make personal connections, and are the connections natural (pg.20-21).  In each step of choosing a book the author provides examples to illustrate the points.


Ward, R. (2005). Using children’s literature to inspire K-8 preservice teachers’ future mathematics pedagogy. The Reading Teacher, 59(2), 132-143.


This article focused on the inclusion of literacy books in mathematics. The author highlights how literacy instruction is fundamental in mathematics learning and thus there is a natural connection made when using literacy books.   Furthermore, literacy books can be used as a real world connection to mathematics, social studies, and science. This article was in favor of integrating literacy books into the mathematics curriculum because doing so holds much promise.  The author provided examples of how you can use literacy books within the classroom. The article also provides favorable responses of children who preferred this style of teaching.


4 thoughts on “Annotated Bibliography

  1. bsportie says:

    You found some really good resources to help lead your own research. I was just reading Lexie’s post and she talked about Dave Burgess’s comment this week on finding things that your students love and using that to help guide your instruction. What do young children love more than a good book? At least, my children love books. So, why not use that as the “hook” for the lesson. Especially for those students who struggle with math – connect this to something they love and they can see the benefits of the struggle. I think you are well on your way to a great research project. Good luck!

  2. fadwa3 says:

    Shauna – I can’t wait to see the result of your research question. This is a fascinating topic especially for kids who do not like math. I have seen many bright kids who were above grade level in reading and literature yet they struggled with math. It seems logical that taking something that kids like such as reading and connecting that to math.

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