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You can teach subtraction with picture books! They’re perfect for reinforcing subtraction concepts and introducing word problems with real world scenarios.
I strongly believe that kids need to have a firm grasp of basic math operations in order to be more successful with advanced math. However, flash cards and workbooks get boring after a while. Engage your students with a great collection of math picture books!
There’s something a bit less intimidating about using picture books instead of flashcards and math drills. The fun pictures and rhyming text can make little ones eager to practice their skills.
Picture books are a great introduction to word problems, as well. Here are some ideas to teach subtraction with picture books.
Teach Subtraction with Picture Books
Picture books help reinforce concepts in a non-structured way allowing kids to “see” how math works in the real world. Brian P. Cleary’s
Brian P. Cleary’s The Action of Subtraction is a fun book to start with. The cartoon illustrations and rhyming text engage little ones and encourage them to practice subtracting on almost every two-page spread. With every clever phrase, kids can see what happens when you take one number away from another. They’re also introduced to subtraction terminology so they’ll become more familiar with the terms.
With every clever phrase, kids can see what happens when you take one number away from another. They’re also introduced to subtraction terminology so they’ll become more familiar with the terms.
Pull out the math manipulatives
I suggest starting your lesson with a simple read-through of your chosen book. Just read through it, let your children look at the pictures, and discuss any questions your child may have.
Next, read through it again. This time, pull out some math manipulatives. When my daughter was younger, we used her Littlest Pet Shop animals as math manipulatives. My son used his LEGO mini-figs. Whatever you use, let your child act out the story as you read through it a second time.
This hands-on activity helps young learners see the act of subtracting. They see first hand the process of starting out with a certain amount and then subtracting (or taking away) another amount. This shows them how numbers get smaller in subtraction problems.
Discuss it: What is subtraction? Does it make numbers bigger or smaller? Is the number you start with bigger or smaller than the number you’re left with?
More books that teach subtraction:
Extend the lesson: Have your child write and solve the subtraction problems on paper as you come to them in the book? Create a few related subtraction word problems for your child to solve (on paper or with their manipulatives). Have your child create some subtraction word problems of their own. Then, they can act them out with their manipulatives.
This subtraction mini-pack is the perfect addition to your subtraction lessons. It includes the following 8 activities:
- Subtraction anchor chart
- Roll and solve (graphing)
- Subtraction picture problems
- Subtraction facts (3 practice pages)
- Match the differences
- Subtraction clip cards
What are your favorite resources to help teach subtraction with picture books?