Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Katherine Ayres’s “Up, Down, and Around”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book Up, Down, and Around.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

Children learn about spatial directions as the seeds drop down into the soil, the stalks reach up to the sky, and the pumpkin vines twirl around and around. These spatial concepts are embedded in nature as children also learn about how different vegetables grow.

A boy watches a pepper plant grow. Illustration from “Up, Down, and Around.”

Words to Learn

MATH WORDS
up, down, around, row

OTHER WORDS
row, splashes, cucumbers, vine, broccoli, beets, wind, okra, twine

About the Math

As you read about how the different vegetables grow in the garden, your child can learn:

  • Spatial words that describe the location and direction of objects, including up, down, and around.
  • That some pairs of spatial words describe an opposite relationship: For example, up is the opposite of down.
  • How different vegetables grow in different directions. For example, peppers grow upward while potatoes grow downward.
A man, girl, rabbit, and bugs observe potatoes growing. Illustration from “Up, Down, and Around.”

Math Talk During Reading

  • OBSERVE THE DIRECTION THAT THE VEGETABLES ARE GROWING
    In what direction is the broccoli growing? Is it growing up or growing down? What about the beets?
  • COMPARE HOW THE DIFFERENT VEGETABLES ARE GROWING
    Are the potatoes and the pumpkins growing in the same direction? How do you know?
  • CONNECT THE STORY TO YOUR CHILD’S LIFE:
    When we planted a seed, where did we put the seed? Did we have a row for the seeds? In what direction did the plant grow?
  • EXPLORE OTHER SPATIAL WORDS
    I notice the boy is lying under the peppers and the ant is on top of the leaf. Where is the bunny?

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

Activity After Reading

As you’re taking a walk with your child, look for opportunities to use the words up, down, and around. For example, talk with your child about how the leaves are high up on the tree, while the vines wrap around the tree.

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