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ERIC Number: EJ1038107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Teaching Mathematics through Multicultural Literature
Iliev, Nevin; D'Angelo, Frank
Teaching Children Mathematics, v20 n7 p452-457 Mar 2014
Incorporating the use of children's literature when teaching mathematics to young children is a developmentally appropriate practice: "Literature … provides a means for children to encounter mathematical concepts and vocabulary in the context of something familiar, a story" (Fogelberg et al. 2008). Moreover, introducing culturally relevant texts into mathematics lessons whenever possible is increasingly important as the faces in classrooms better reflect the diverse nature of society. By employing multicultural texts, "a teacher recognizes mathematics as a cultural construct in which all people around the world engage and is able to create a culturally pluralist curriculum that helps all students see mathematics as a creation of people like themselves" (Sleeter 1997, p. 682). As students listen to stories that feature cultures other than their own, they become curious about how others are similar to and different from themselves. Then, as they study the illustrations found in these books after listening to their story lines, their curiosity continues to grow. From this initial natural curiosity, children gain understanding of the interconnectedness of the global world. Specifically, multicultural literature that features familiar mathematical concepts, such as counting and skip counting, enables children to understand from an early age that math concepts are universal in nature. Children must be able to connect what they are learning in their classroom to global society. This article describes a mathematics lesson that included a read aloud of "My Granny Went to Market: A Round-the-World Counting Rhyme" by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Christopher Corr. It was taught to first-grade ESL (English as a second language) students and was designed to increase students' counting and addition skills through the use of tally marks and tally tables. The book was chosen because a natural connection could be made in understanding one-to-one correspondence (objects to number). The exposure to this counting concept assists in solidifying the concept of number constancy, which is a vital component of counting mastery. The story is the tale of a grandmother who goes on a quest around the world to purchase different items for her granddaughter. This vibrant book features depictions of different cultures, rhyme, colorful folk art, and fanciful items to count.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A