Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Let’s Read Math approach?

In a time of intense accountability in schools, we are taking time out to have FUN with children – fun with MATH!   Our approach is to have a good time reading children’s books, then doing fun math activities related to the books.  Sometimes we work with children alone – for example, at school, with scout troops, in day camps or after school centers.  Sometimes we work with parents and children together – for example, at library workshops, or at family nights in schools.

How old is this program?

The idea of using children’s books to teach math is not a new one, but the first Let’s Read Math workshops took place in fall 2004 in Yardley, PA,  at the Yardley-Makefield Branch of the Bucks County Free Library.  Volunteers from the local branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)  helped Dr. Claire Passantino plan and organize Saturday workshops for parents and children together. The program has spread across the country, both inside and outside AAUW.  As of 2014 we know that adults and children in at least 40 different states have taken part in LRM programs and activities.

How is Let’s Read Math related to AAUW (the American Association of University Women)?

In October 2004, volunteers from the Makefield Area Branch of AAUW helped run the first Let’s Read Math workshops at the local library in Yardley, PA. Project director Claire Passantino applied for funding from the national AAUW organization and obtained a community action grant from AAUW’s Educational Foundation. This grant was used to fund the initial workshops, launch this website, and find ways to make the program replicable within AAUW and in the community at large.

How can AAUW branches get started doing Let’s Read Math workshops?

In June 2007, a second community action grant was awarded from the Educational Foundation of AAUW, to spread Let’s Read Math to other AAUW branches. Through this grant, branches obtained free information, advice, training, support materials and small mini-grants to start their own programs.  Many branches continue to do LRM.   Each branch formulates its own outreach program.  The national organization publicizes Let’s Read Math as one of its “Programs in a Box.”

What is the connection to libraries?

Let’s Read Math started in the local library in Yardley PA, with help from Dr. Claire Passantino and volunteers from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  Other libraries are now doing Let’s Read Math – as story hours, as family programs, as a focus for summer reading. For example, in Pennsylvania, the Montgomery County and Delaware County Libraries received funding from the Verizon Check Into Literacy program to offer LRM sessions during library story hours.  The Northville-Novi branch of AAUW  runs a series of workshops at their local library in Michigan, with help from honor students in the local high school.  Dr. Claire Passantino is working to spread math literacy in Philadelphia, through “POSTLI,” the Philadelphia Out-of-School-Time Literacy Initiative of the Free Library of Philadelphia.  These are just a few examples.

What grade levels is this for?

The first Let’s Read Math workshops, and Funbooks 1 and 2, were designed for children in elementary grades K-5.  At family nights, children frequently attended in multi-age groups, and it was necessary to develop the main lessons and then adapt conversations and activities for older and younger children in the target grades.  In February 2008, two new Funbooks were released: Funbook A (for primary grades) and Advanced Funbook 1 (for upper grades).  In 2014, a teacher’s guide was published related to the lessons in the Advanced Funbook (for grades 5-8).  The teacher’s guide includes suggestions for reinforcing or extending the lesson topics, or for using the lessons as part of project-based-learning units.

Who DOES Let’s Read Math?

Anyone who works with children can “do” Let’s Read Math – parents, teachers, grandparents, scout leaders, day care providers etc.  Let’s Read Math works in school settings and in out-of-school-time settings.  We have developed Let’s Read Math activities and materials to pave the way, but we hope that eventually it becomes natural for people to pick up children’s books, recognize the math in them, and have fun talking about and doing math with the children they know  and love.  We also encourage independent reading by the children themselves.

Who is Claire Passantino?

Dr. Claire Passantino is director of the Let’s Read Math project, and founder of the parent company, Projects in Education  www.projectsineducation.com.   Dr. Passantino has many years of teaching experience in grades K-8, and over fifteen years working on research and evaluation projects related to the reform of mathematics education.  Her recent work in Philadelphia is largely centered on reaching parents and children across the city, especially in out-of-school settings.  She is committed to the idea that children who have positive experiences with math outside of school have a better chance of succeeding with math in school.

How is Let’s Read Math connected to Projects in Education? 

Projects in Education (PIE)  publishes the Let’s Read Math Funbooks, Teacher Guides and Workshop Manuals.  Workshops, presentations, and professional development services are also available through PIE, www.projectsineducation.com, 216-771-0046.  Contact us for advice about starting your own LRM program.

What are the key components to Let’s Read Math?

There are several ways to do Let’s Read Math:

1. Let’s Read Math Workshops are highly interactive lessons that involve reading a children’s book and doing related hands-on math activities and explorations.  Workshops can be used with children alone, but are frequently used at family nights or in other settings for parents and children together.

2. Let’s Read Math Funbooks are fun workbooks featuring 16 different children’s books.  Children read a book, then do the Funbook pages.  Funbooks are frequently used as informal curriculum in after school centers or day camps. They also work well for independent reading programs where children work on their own.

3. Book of the Month Lessons are available on the website.  This is a place for us to introduce lesson related to holidays or to new titles that have come to our attention.   Also, for visitors to the website, this is an opportunity to try a few lessons without purchasing anything, unless maybe you want to purchase the book to go along with the suggested math activity.  Alternatively, buy it on your own or look for it at your local library.

4. On Your Own: The ultimate goal is for everyone to recognize math themes in books and stories, and enjoy talking about and doing activities together.  This is not a program for mastering math, but to relax with children and introduce new ideas and activities.  Remember that the main goal is to HAVE FUN WITH MATH.

How are the Let’s Read Math materials developed?

Dr Claire Passantino develops the Let’s Read Math materials with the help of colleagues who are elementary mathematics educators.  The math topics are drawn from national and state standards for teaching and learning mathematics.  The Let’s Read Math approach is particularly well-suited to implementing Common Core’s Standards for Mathematical Practice. We believe that children’s mathematics learning is enhanced by connecting the reading of children’s books to real life experiences, to drawing and writing, using hands on manipulatives and models, and sharing ideas with others through listening and speaking.

Where do I get Let’s Read Math materials?  

Use this website to order Let’s Read Math materials directly from Projects in Education (PIE). Visit our Store to see what is available.   In addition to the LRM Funbooks and Teacher Guides,  we carry all other items related to the Let’s Read Math lessons (including the sets of children’s books featured in each Funbook, the workshop manuals for turning lessons into family nights, a sampling of take home items for children, and professional development services).  Online, you can pay by credit card, through PayPal.  Alternatively, use our downloadable Order Form to pay by check or purchase order.

Note that some LRM materials are available from Amazon, at www.amazon.com and from Rainbow Resource Center, at  www.rainbowresource.com.

What about Professional Development?

Professional development services, technical assistance, and Let’s Read Math workshop or family nights are available at your site or at one of several Philadelphia locations.  Please contact us via the website or call us to discuss your project needs:  215-771-0046

How is Let’s Read Math funded?  

Let’s Read Math is funded through the sales of publications and professional development services provided by Projects in Education.  We have also received direct funding for Let’s Read Math from the American Association for University Women Educational Foundation, from Verizon’s Check Into Literacy Program, the Wachovia Foundation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Other LRM grants are awarded directly to the organizations where we do our work.