Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Eve Merriam’s “12 Ways to Get to 11”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “12 Ways to Get to 11.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

“12 Ways to Get to 11” is a counting book about decomposing, or breaking apart, the number 11 in various ways. Each page shows a different combination of objects, such as nine pinecones and two acorns. The story encourages children to think about counting objects in the world around them.

A circus elephant eats six peanut shells and five pieces of popcorn. Illustration from “12 Ways to Get to 11.”

Words to Learn

OBJECTS YOUR CHILD CAN COUNT
pine cone, acorn, pitcher, bouquet, sail, anchor, catalog, postcard, triplets, twins, sow, piglet

ACTION WORDS
darting, cracking open, poking out, hatched

About the Math

To count the objects and figure out different ways to get to 11, your child can learn:

  • We group and count all the like items together. For example, group and count the peanut shells together and then count all the popcorn pieces separately.
  • We need to keep track of which objects we already counted so we don’t count each object more than once or miss any.
  • We can break apart a group of objects into smaller groups.
  • When we combine those smaller groups back together, we get the total number of objects.
A young girl picks up nine pinecones from the forest floor. Illustration from “12 Ways to Get to 11.”

Math Talk During Reading

  • PRACTICE COUNTING THE NUMBER OF OBJECTS ON EACH PAGE AND PUTTING ALL THE OBJECTS TOGETHER TO FIND THE TOTAL
    How many pine cones are there? How many acorns are there? How many is that altogether?
  • EXPLORE COMPARING THE NUMBER OF OBJECTS IN EACH GROUP
    Are there more acorns or pine cones? How do you know?
  • TALK ABOUT DECOMPOSING 11 IN A NEW WAY
    Can you think of a different way to get to 11?
  • TRY TO COME UP WITH WAYS TO DECOMPOSE OTHER NUMBERS
    Can you think of two ways to get to the number five?

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

Activity After Reading

  • COLLECT OBJECTS AROUND THE HOUSE THAT ADD UP TO 11
    Let’s see if we can make a group of forks and a group of spoons that add up to 11 altogether.

Then collect objects around the house that add up to another number!

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