Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Steve Jenkins’s “Actual Size”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Actual Size.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

In “Actual Size,” we meet animals of different sizes. Animals are drawn to scale so children can see how they measure up to each animal. Each page includes interesting facts and physical dimensions of the animal.

Large orange atlas moth with the text: “The atlas moth is so large that it is often mistaken for a bird. Wingspan: 12 inches.” Illustration from “Actual Size”.

Words to Learn

MEASUREMENT WORDS
largest, giant, enormous, heaviest, longest, smallest

ANIMALS
moth, squid, crocodile, ostrich, anteater, tarantula

About the Math

“Actual Size” is about size relationships and measurement. When exploring and measuring the animals in the book, your child may learn:

  • Animals come in many different sizes. Some are big, small, short, or long.
  • How to compare animals of different sizes to find out which animal is bigger, smaller, shorter, or longer.
  • How your child compares in size to the different animals.
Zoomed in image of an African elephant foot with the text: “This foot belongs to the largest land animal, the African elephant: height up to 12 feet, weight as much as 14,000 pounds.” Illustration from “Actual Size”.

Math Talk During Reading

  • MAKE AN INFORMED JUDGMENT
    Can you tell what animal is on this page? How do you know?
  • COMPARE ANIMALS OF DIFFERENT SIZES
    Which one do you think is bigger, smaller, shorter, longer? How do you know?
  • MEASURE THE ANIMALS USING DIFFERENT BODY PARTS
    Let’s use your hand to measure the size of the animals. How big is this animal compared to your hand?
  • EXPLORE HOW YOUR CHILD’S SIZE COMPARES TO THE SIZE OF THE ANIMALS
    How does your foot compare to the elephant’s foot? Which one is bigger?

Try to come up with some of your own questions and comments, too!

Activity After Reading

  • TALK ABOUT MEASUREMENT IN THE WORLD AROUND YOU
    Let’s look at this tiny ant! How small is it compared to your thumb?