Children’s Literature to Inform Mathematics Teaching and Learning

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Abstract

Teaching mathematics using children’s literature is a commonly promoted practice in mathematics curricula, practitioner journals, and teacher preparation programs. Integrating children’s literature with mathematics has been assumed to have a positive impact on students’ mathematical knowledge; however, few formal reviews of the research have been completed. This systematic review provides a synthesis of research on children’s literature and mathematics teaching and learning during a twenty-five-year period (1991–2016). Findings indicate that although there are many publications on this topic, few are based on empirical research. Using scholarly education research databases, twenty-three articles on the integration of children’s literature and mathematics were identified as containing a report of empirical research. These articles are organized into four themes in this review: effects on student achievement, impact on students’ motivation and engagement, increased mathematical discourse, and best practices for teacher preparation and pedagogy. The majority of studies concluded that integrating children’s literature and mathematics has positive impacts on teaching and learning mathematics for teachers and students. This systematic review provides an audit of the existing research and identifies areas for future research and practice.