In my preschool class, I do not spend much time on teacher-directed lessons, most of our day is spent in free choice. One thing I always do is read a story, and I use counting books often to spark interest in math for children that may not be choosing math-related activities at free choice time. These 12 books are my absolute favorite counting books to read as a group.
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Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker is a simple counting book with minimal text. What it lacks in words it delivers in illustrations. The rich colors of the hens, the golden hay, and the yellow chicks were all expertly executed. We read the board book version of this book, and as we turned each page, the illustrations wowed us. The text that is included is rhyming and pleasant, but the illustrations steal the show.
Quack and Count by Keith Baker is even better than Big Fat Hen. This book is awesome for multi-age groups because although the text is simple there are two levels of math on each page. Simple duck counting as well as using addition arriving at the same number.
Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews is a wonderfully simple and creative counting book. From one to ten, each number is represented in different ways in various illustrations where children can count along as you read.
On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a favorite of my son when he was a preschooler, and my students loved it too. Counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations, simple text and hidden numbers on each page this book is great to read as a group as well as one on one. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit.
Pete The Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean is a classroom favorite. My students love counting down with me as Pete loses his buttons one at a time. The text is packed with repetition and students will be singing along with Pete in no time.
Dog”™s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd was a huge hit at our house and will be in your classroom as well. This is a great book not only because it has counting and colors but because of the dynamic language it uses while the spots of color are splatting, squashing and squishing onto his beautiful white fur. It’s a fun book to read to a group of children because it captures their attention while working in great educational lessons.
Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert is a classroom favorite in every school I have ever worked in. The colors are so bright, and the eye cut outs that give readers a sneak peak at what colors are coming next are fascinating for babies and kids alike. I have used this book for various themes like under the sea, shapes and of course counting.
Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song “Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for how they exit begins with the same letter as the animal does. Reading this to a whole group really brings this book to life.
Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. This is a sure fire hit with truck loving kids. If you have students who go straight for the construction vehicles every day, this is the book for your classroom.
One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root looks like an everyday book, but inside you will find a brilliantly repetitive storyline, that promotes teamwork, and mathematical skills! See a duck gets stuck in the muck and while others are eager to help the duck isn’t unstuck until they all work together. My class was nuts about this book a few years ago, and my son has greatly enjoyed it since infancy. Don’t pass this book up.
10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and every class I have read it to has loved it. We read it leading up to and well after Halloween last year. The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature. Readers count down from 10 to 0 and enjoy the bright, detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy. It’s always fun to count candy right?
Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh is another gem from this author illustrator. In this book, the mice outsmart a hungry snake and save themselves from his belly. In the meantime, the reader counts along as the mice are caught and put in a jar, then again when they escape. The simple illustrations are so effective, and my students love this book.