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. These workshops still take place. As of January 2008, we conservatively estimate that Let’s Read Math has reached over 3000 adults and 12,000 children.
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 can now obtain free information, advice, training, support materials and small mini-grants to start their own programs. For more information about this current grant, contact Graham Boose in the West Chester/Chester County Branch of AAUW: 610-431-7701 orGDBoose@comcast.net.
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.
What grade levels is this for?
The first Let’s Read Math workshops, and Funbooks 1 and 2, were designed for multi-age groups in the K-4 grade range. Conversations about the workshops and Funbook lessons can be adapted for older and younger children, but the reading level and math activities are best suited for children in grades 2-3. In February 2008, two new Funbooks were released for purchase: Funbook A (for primary grades) and Advanced Funbook 1 (for upper grades). During 2008, we are developing and testing new workshops related to these Funbooks. The new sets of workshops are more narrowly focused on primary grades (for children in grades K-1), and upper grades (for children in grades 4-6 and beyond).
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 settings. We have developed Let’s Read Math activities and materials to get you started, 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. 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 for the past fifteen years has been working on research and evaluation projects related to the reform of mathematics education. 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, 215-493-0458.
What are the key components to Let’s Read Math?
There are three basic 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. On Your Own: The ultimate goal is for everyone to recognize math themes in books and stories, and have fun talking about and doing math activities with children.
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. 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?
EAI is the distributor for the Let’s Read Math Funbooks, Teacher Guides, and children’s books that are featured in the Funbooks. EAI offers a comprehensive collection of over 7000 math and reading manipulatives, calculators, classroom resources, math and literature books, and other teaching materials. To receive an EAI catalog or to place an online order, call 800-770-8010, or go to www.eaieducation.com and type “let’s read math” in the search window.
Let’s Read Math materials may also be ordered directly from Projects in Education (PIE). In addition to the books, Funbooks, and teacher guides, PIE carries all the items related to the Let’s Read Math workshops (workshop manuals, take home items for children, and professional development services).
What about Professional Development?
Click on the NEWS tab to see our calendar of events. Let’s Read Math presentations are offered at professional conferences across the country. We also schedule PD at central locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In Pennsylvania, Dr. Passantino and colleagues do workshops at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (contact firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (email@example.com). Plans are underway to do future workshops at Holy Family University in Newtown, PA (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
In NJ, workshops are held at The College of New Jersey (contact email@example.com) and Rutgers University. This year (2008-09), the Rutgers Center for Family Involvement in Schools is offering training programs for school districts who want to launch Let’s Read Math family programs in their schools. Visit the CFIS website for more information about dates, cost, etc. www.rci.rutgers.edu/~cfis/
Professional development services, technical assistance, and Let’s Read Math workshops at your site are available from Projects in Education. Write for information (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 215-493-0458.
For an overview about the process of using children’s books to teach mathematics, there is a short online course offered for FREE, over the Verizon Literacy Network www.thinkfinity.org. Dr. Passantino wrote the “Let’s Read Math” course with guidance from the National Center for Family Literacy. The course takes approximately one-hour to complete, and a training certificate is issued upon completion.
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 grants from the American Association for University Women Educational Foundation, from Verizon’s Check Into Literacy Program, and from the Wachovia Foundation.