Counting Practice

Yesterday I shared about our family’s latest and greatest alphabet read to promote early literacy, Playful Pigs from A-Z. Today it only seems appropriate to address another foundational skill for young children: counting. If the alphabet is vital to literacy, counting and number recognition are equally integral (pun intended!) to mathematics. Counting books help children understand that numbers are orderly and an important part of the world around them.

This week my children and I read the counting book 1 is One by Tasha Tudor. I liked it because it rhymes and counts to 20. My preschooler enjoyed learning new words as we read and looked at the pictures to discern what the some of the unfamiliar words were, such as swallows (the bird, not the verb) and slate. The illustrations are beautiful and quaint with the pages alternating between color and black-and-white. Not surprisingly, 1 is One was awarded the Caldecott Honor in 1957.

If you enjoy all things vintage or are a bit of a romantic, 1 is One will be a delightful read for you as your children practice counting to 20.

Best Age: prek – kindergarten

For Parents:

  • Count the items on the page for each number as you read 1 is One.
  • After reading the book, look back at the illustration for number 10, which displays written numbers on a slate. Write out numbers 1-10 on a paper and ask your child to trace over them with colored pencil, marker or crayon. Add stickers below each number to show the amount that each number symbol represents. Count aloud together as your child puts stickers on the paper.

For Teachers:

  • Set out a large, shallow container or bowl with a small amount of water in it. (A baking pan or Rubbermaid tub may work well.) Refer students back to the page for number 1, with “one duckling swimming in a dish.” Using rubber duckies, have a student select a number 1-20 using slips of paper or popsicle sticks. Then, count aloud together as the student volunteer adds the appropriate number of rubber ducks to the water. Repeat the activity as many times as desired.
  • Give each student a mini white board and marker to use in place of a slate. Refer students back to the page for number 10, which displays written numbers on a slate. Instruct students to write the number you say aloud to them. Then ask students to draw that many dots on the board as you count to that number together. Model on the class white board as you practice. Erase the boards and continue to practice for numbers 1-20 as long as desired.

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