Looking for books that will help you teach place value? Try these!
Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens, by Cindy Neuschwander
In this clever book, Sir Cumference and Lady Di are planning a surprise birthday party for King Arthur, but so many guests have arrived that they can’t keep track of them. When the knight and lady count tens, hundreds, and thousands of partygoers, listeners will get a fun lesson in place value.
A Fair Bear Share, by Stuart J. Murphy
Stuart Murphy is brilliant at combining storytelling with math concepts! In this book, bear cubs are picking nuts and berries for a special dessert, but one little bear just wants to play. When the cubs count the nuts and berries by making piles of ten (and leftovers), it’s very clear that one little bear hasn’t done her part. In fact, there aren’t enough nuts and berries to make a pie. Finally the last bear does her share, and by making piles of tens and leftovers the cubs discover that they have just enough berries and nuts to make a delicious pie.
Place Value, by David A. Adler
Adler takes the complex subject of place value and explains it in a very straightforward way, alongside vibrant illustrations of busy monkeys. Truthfully, this book helped me understand place value better. It’s a must-read for you and your students!
Earth Day – Hooray! by Stuart J. Murphy
A group of kids lead an effort to clean up local parks with a soda can drive. They sort the cans that they collect into bags of ten and then 100. Eventually they make bags of 1000, having collected 5,026 total cans. Highly recommended!
The King’s Commissioners, by Aileen Freedman
This story is a little long, but eventually we get to the math lesson when the king has his assistants count all his royal commissioners. Each assistant counts in a different way – in 2’s, 5’s, and finally 10’s. I love that this book will help kids think about numbers in different ways.
Octopuses Have Zero Bones, by Anne Richardson
This beautiful, fascinating book about the world describes our system of numerals and applies them to the world. “Hummingbirds lay TWO eggs. Now let’s try placing two zeros after the two. Bowhead whales can live more than TWO HUNDRED years.” The author and illustrator teach fascinating facts as they help kids think about the powers of ten. This book is absolutely brilliant and makes a great read aloud for young and old listeners alike!
Zero the Hero, by Joan Holub & Tom Lichtenheld
This book is hilarious and worth reading even if you aren’t teaching place value. Zero feels worthless. He doesn’t add anything in addition. You can’t use him in division. And he makes numbers disappear when he multiplies. Zero runs away, leaving the numbers realizing just how important he truly is. In the end, he saves the day by multiplying himself by the Roman Numeral invaders and making them disappear. You’ll have to work a bit to make the place value connection, but this book is worth the effort.
Zero: Is it Something? Is it Nothing? by Claudia Zaslavsky
This vintage book (1989) helps students think about the different uses of zero. Sometimes, zero is nothing. But zero can also mean something – as in the number 250, or the number 305. From Tic-Tac-Toe to rounding, this book covers every possible use for zero. I recommend reading just a section at a time and returning to the book often.
Out for the Count, by Kathryn Cave
This book (published in 1991) is a little hard to find, but it’s worth tracking down. Tom can’t sleep, so his father suggests counting sheep. Soon the sheep lead Tom into the wild where he meets more creatures that he can count by tens and ones. It’s a fantastic introduction to place value!
Penguin Place Value, by Kathleen L. Stone
The penguins catch fish and store them in boxes of ten, plus leftovers. This simple little book is ideal for introducing place value to young listeners. It’s immediately obvious that this book was written by an experienced teacher; the end of the book even includes suggestions for games to enhance learning!
P.S. Find the mega list of books about math concepts at Imagination Soup!
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