Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Robie H. Harris’s “Now What? A Math Tale”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Now What? A Math Tale.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

Puppy wants to use different blocks to build a bed long enough and wide enough for a nap. But Puppy needs to find the right number and type of blocks—rectangles, squares, and triangles—to make the bed. What will Puppy do? Watch Puppy try to build again and again until finally figuring out how different blocks can fit together to make a bed. Now Puppy is ready for a snooze!

Words to Learn

Numbers
1, 2, 3, 4, lots, more

Shape and spatial words 
top, bottom, upside down, downside up, corners, straight lines, rectangle, side, square, triangle

Measurement words 
long, wide, short, skinny, same, big, small

About the Math

Now What? presents ideas about shape and spatial relations, as well as counting and measurement. While reading the story, your child can learn:

  • That shapes have specific properties. For example, a rectangle has four corners and four straight lines, and no matter how we look at it, it is still a rectangle.
  • That a square is one kind of rectangle.
  • That we can count the number of blocks as Puppy builds a bed or count the sides to figure out the shape of each block.
  • How to think about measurement. Puppy finds that one block is not long enough and not wide enough for a bed. He keeps adding blocks and measuring until he has enough.

Math Talk During Reading

  • TALK ABOUT PROPERTIES OF SHAPES
    How many sides does a rectangle have? How many sides does a square have? How is the square block different from the rectangle block?
  • TALK ABOUT HOW DIFFERENT BLOCKS CAN BE USED TO MAKE DIFFERENT SHAPES 
    There are no more rectangle blocks. Let’s find some other blocks Puppy could use to help build his bed.
  • DISCUSS MEASUREMENT AND SPATIAL WORDSD
    This block is longer than that one. What’s the opposite of long? What’s the opposite of above?

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

Activity After Reading

  • TRY TO MAKE YOUR OWN PUPPY-SIZED BED OUT OF BLOCKS!
    If you don’t have blocks at home, you can cut squares, rectangles, and triangles out of paper and use those.
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