Action speaks louder than words. That has never been truer when cultivating the love of reading in our children. Do you know that when we talk or express excitement of a particular subject or topic in a book, the influence is far greater than handing them a book and tell them to read it? What more if you try asking your child to read a book about maths. That will just be the end of a conversation right. So how do we convince our children that a particular book is worth reading?
Well, for one, you have to read THAT book too and make a conscious effort to rouse interest about it. At the least, read a similar book and then talk about it with them or with your partner with them around. They are listening, I tell you.
Another useful tip is to grab a book you want them to read and then read aloud the first page or chapter for them using your exciting voice. This works most of the time because you had just helped them to overcome the primary inertia of reading and hooked them with a powerful inviting introduction.
Now, can we ignite a love for reading and maths as well? Certainly, you can. Let me introduce you to two books with maths as a start. Perhaps, these books could even kindle that maths nerd in you.
For Parents: Humble Pi by Matt Parker
A comedy of maths errors. With such a title, you know this book will not be too complicated to read. Subsequently what caught my attention was the descending sequence of the page numbers from page 314 to page 1 at the end of the book. A delightful attempt to make this book more interesting than it already is.
This book is a lighthearted read yet educates you with real world stories about what happens when maths go wrong. I truly enjoy the repertoire of funny events that spans from a simple Pepsi commercial error to maths related issues like unit measurement blunder for a NASA mission and using rounding off as an argument for a political policy. This book reminds you of how astounding and frightening the amount of maths we use in our daily. Maths has enabled us to achieve far greater endeavors than what our human brain capacity can accomplish. Therefore, the short stories in this book explain how a simple maths error can go undetected but have significant undesirable consequences. My favorite parts of this book are definitely slipups that major companies like Lego and McDonalds went through because no one really questions any of their advertisements or claims.
This book is definitely a-must read as it is charmingly filled with hilarious insights to learn from and share with your family and friends. Reading Humble Pi will give you a fresh perspective to maths appreciation and its function in the world.
For Children: Molly and the Mathematical Mystery
My 10-year-old daughter was a bit skeptical when I showed her about this book. Apparently, it looked a bit too childish but when I started to read this book aloud and solve some of the puzzles, it got her interested and she just took the book away from me. I must admit, she managed to solve the weaving geometric activity, which I terribly failed.
This book is about Molly’s adventure to looking at the world where nothing is quite it seems. Starting from her home, readers have to find the clues and lift the beautifully engineered card flaps in this playful mathematical book to bring them from one scene to another to solve cool challenges. Therefore, it is good to read the book from the front to the back, rather than jumping around the pages.
The interesting part of the book is that way the story is written. As the reader, you will follow Molly as she learns about cool mathematical concepts, which includes geometric shapes, symmetry, inverses, paradoxes and many more! As the book described, “Math is really about exploring ideas and using our imagination. It’s a way of making sense of the world — or of making seemingly impossible things possible.”
I would totally recommend this book to the primary school children. Although the book may appear ‘messy’ because every page is illustrated extensively to hide imageries and clues, with adult’s participation, one can easily manoeuvre through the book and appreciate it tremendously.
So what are you waiting for? These books are available in the public libraries for you to enjoy with your curious little minds!
Siti Aishah Shukri
Lead Educational Therapist
RETA Associate Fellow
Article published on 5 June 2023