Using Children's Literature to Teach Mathematics
Much of the reasoning behind such integration is intuitive—there is evidence that children have more success learning and understanding material when it is presented in a way that is meaningful to them. The variety in literature provides countless opportunities for students to become engaged in a mathematics concept being taught, thereby creating a meaningful context for the student. David Whitin asserts, "Through (these) varied opportunities for investigation, (these) books support readers in developing healthy attitudes and dispositions about mathematical activity" (Whitin, 2004). With the benefits of bringing literature into the mathematics classroom understood, the task then becomes how to do this effectively. Not every book will be appropriate for enhancing a mathematics lesson, and literature should not be manipulated to suit the purposes of the lesson. There should be an organic relationship between the book chosen to enhance the lesson and the lesson itself. Researchers and educators have developed criteria for selecting literature that can be integrated effectively into mathematics instruction. Ideally, children's literature books should have authentic context that includes life experiences, personal or cultural episodes, and enjoyable plots that unite mathematics and literacy (Worley, 2002).