# Math Fun for Young Children in Creative Picture Book Teaches Sorting, Counting, and Categorization

Updated on July 16, 2018

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

## Organize with Sam and Learn Beginning Math Skills

Using picture books in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms is a fun way to teach concepts. Math concepts are especially fun to teach using a picture book iin that the book engages young children in learning the concepts along with a favorite character. Marthe Jocelyn's Sam Sorts is a fun and creative picture book that will appeal to young children as they learn to count, sort objects, and put familiar objects into categories of all descriptions.

Sam's room is a mess! He needs to get organized and clean up the mess. He decides to get organized by finding objects that are alike in a variety of ways. Some of his toys are alike in shapes. Some are alike in the kind of toys that do something like his robot that moves around and his two toy dinosaurs that growl. Some are alike in that they are fake foods. Some are alike by having the same shape. Some are like in colors and patterns. There are numerous categories that Sam can organize his toys into. Sam can even sort his objects into a category of things that float. How about a group for flying objects? Sam can count the objects that he sorts into all of his categories after the sorting is done. Which group do you think has the most objects in the category? Everything is sorted except one final object at the end of the story. Young children will find the last object to be very funny. They will wonder along with Sam about the category that this funny object might fit into.

Sam Sorts is a wealth of pictures of familiar objects that children might even have at their house in their room. The colorful illustrations are fun to sort through as the story progresses. Jocelyn writes in simple text. She even includes an illustration of a Zenn diagram for sorting. Children will recognize the diagram as a skill that they will learn in math.

Sam Sorts is recommended for ages 3-8 and was published by Tundra Book,s a division of Penguin/random House. It has an ISBN of 978-1-101-918-0.

## A Wealth of Early Math Skills for Young Children

I used picture books for teaching math skills in my early childhood education classes when I taught pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Picture books were always my favorite tools to use in teaching math concepts. I always read a picture book to introduce the concept. Sam Sorts is one of my favorites that I have come across.

*Read Sam Sorts in a group story time session. Call attention to the familiar objects that are found on each page.

*I especially like the illustration of the Zenn diagram that is found at the beginning of the book. Have colorful yarn available to form your own Zenn diagram on the floor in front of the children. You can use this diagram when you are ready to have children sort objects in an upcoming hands-on math activity.

*Call attention on each page when Sam places his objects into a particular category. Call attention to colors, shapes, and sizes.

*Call attention to the pages of illustrations that Jocelyn has included labels for the groups that objects are sorted into. You might like to have small pieces of paper to use for writing labels for a hands-on math activity later in your math lesson. Even children who cannot yet read or write will enjoy seeing their teacher write a label for each category. This teaches young children that letters form words and words have meaning ot name objects.

*Many schools have the First 100 Days of School and children participate in learning to count to 100. Sam has 100 objects in his collection for sorting. Young children will easily relate to counting to 100 along with Sam.

*Have a collection of 100 objects to sort in several hands-on activities. Use the yarn to form your Zenn diagrams for children to place and sort the objects.

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