Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Ellen Stoll Walsh’s “Mouse Count”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Mouse Count.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

In Mouse Count, a snake finds sleeping mice and a big jar in the meadow. The snake counts and places each mouse into the jar until there are ten mice altogether for him to eat. But one of the mice outsmarts him and suggests that the snake should add a big mouse who is nearby. By the time the greedy snake comes back, all of the ten mice have escaped from the jar!

Five mice escape out of a jar that has been tipped over. Illustration from “Mouse Count.”

Words to Learn

NUMBER WORDS
first, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten

MATH WORDS
little, big, full, empty, some, all

OTHER WORDS
meadow, greedy

About the Math

Your child can practice counting and simple
addition in Mouse Count. While reading the story,
your child can learn:

  • We count each object only once as we say each number in turn.
  • The last number we say tells us the total number of objects counted so far.
  • We say the counting words in order from one to ten.
  • We count backward in reverse order from ten to one.
  • Counting is adding: When we place one more object in a collection, we just count up by one to find the total number (in this case, of mice).
Five mice run home. Illustration from “Mouse Count.”

Math Talk During Reading

  • EXPLORE COUNTING THE NUMBER OF MICE AND HAVE YOUR CHILD SHOW THE NUMBER ON THEIR FINGERS
    How many mice are there? Can you show me that number using your fingers?
  • COMPARE THE NUMBER OF MICE
    Are there more light or dark mice in the jar? How do you know?
  • DISCUSS ADDING ONE MORE
    If the snake puts one more mouse in the jar, how many mice will we have altogether? Will the jar become emptier or fuller?
  • PRACTICE COUNTING BACKWARD
    Let’s try counting backward! What comes before ten?

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

Activity After Reading

Make a collection of your child’s favorite objects and place them in a jar or other container. Every time you add a new object to the jar, count up by one to get to the total number of objects in the jar.

Download this activity