Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on April and Jeff Sayre’s “One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

Each page of this book invites children to count the number of feet people and different animals have. Children will enjoy counting from one to 100 with silly snails, insects, dogs, and crabs. One important caution: The story talks about the number of animals, but the math is really about the number of feet on each animal. You may need to clarify this (potentially) confusing usage.

A spider at the beach has eight arrows pointing to each one of his legs. Illustration from “One is a Snail Ten is a Crab”.

Words to Learn

COUNTING WORDS
ten, one hundred

OTHER WORDS
snail, spider, crab, beach

About the Math

This is a book about counting. In this story, children can learn:

  • The last number of feet we count tells us the total number of feet on the page.
  • When we add one foot of a snail, we add one more to the total number of feet on the page.
  • How to count by groups of 10 using a crab’s 10 feet.
  • How to add smaller numbers of feet to make bigger numbers.
A spider at the beach picks up a snail. Illustration from “One is a Snail Ten is a Crab”.

Math Talk During Reading

EXPLORE COUNTING THE NUMBER OF FEET IN DIFFERENT ANIMALS
How many feet does an insect have? Can you show me with your fingers?

PRACTICE ADDING ONE MORE
What happens when we add one foot of a snail? How many feet do we have altogether? How do you know?

EXPLORE COUNTING BY GROUPS OF 10
If we have two crabs, how many feet do they have altogether? How do you know?

PRACTICE DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE A NUMBER
How can you make 40 feet with people?

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

Activity After Reading

PRACTICE ADDING AND COUNTING AT HOME
How many feet are there altogether in our family?

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