Sunday, May 8, 2016

Four Problems Teaching Children to Count

Learning to count is an important part of a child's development and should be lots of fun. Most children find it easy to learn numbers, but not all.

 You might see these problems... 
  • Children can't remember numbers after 5 unless they count on their fingers starting from 1. It is very slow and inefficient.
  • Eleven and twelve are hard to remember.  
  • Children to confuse 12 and 20. 
  • Non-English speakers say three-teen and five-teen instead of thirteen and fifteen
You should try these ideas...

Counting from 1 is not enough. Teach counting many different ways. Count down from 5. For example, "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!" Count down from 10 (Rocket Blastoff is a fun game for doing that.)
Count by 2s and by 5s and by 10s. Break the numbers into chunks (1 to 5, 5 to 12, 13 to 19, and so on). Play Number Slap.  If you do these things, children will become familiar with numbers in any order. They won't need to count on their fingers.

Teach from 1 to 12 instead of 1 to 10. Children will remember them much more easily. They will be able to start reading clocks. It will also make the next step easier (13 to 20) because they are all teens except 20. Children who start with 1 to 12 will not mix up 12 and 20, because 12 will already be firmly fixed in their minds.

Tell children who say three-teen and five-teen that those numbers are 'special', and introduce thirty and fifty at the same time.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Counting Book of Bugs

Count 13 ladybugs, snails, grasshoppers, cicadas, dragonflies, beetles, caterpillars and moreI published my first e-book with Kindle Desktop Publishing on April 19th, and just completed a print version too.
What a learning curve! The Counting Book of Bugs has 130 bug photographs - 13 photos each of ladybugs, grasshoppers, butterflies, cicadas, snails, ants, honey bees, dragonflies, beetles and caterpillars. Most of the photos were sourced for

Why count to 13?
I wanted to be able to sing the words to the tune of 'Ten Little Indians' (singing is a great way to learn something) and counting to 13 fitted the tune. However, there are other good reasons to start with 1 - 12 instead of 1 - 10. Clocks have 12 numbers, so once kids are familiar with 1 - 12, they can start telling the time. Also, from a language learning point of view, it makes more sense to group 11 and 12 with numbers 1-10, then group the teens together. Finally, learning 12 and 20 in separate groups of numbers will help kids avoid mixing them up (as they so often do!)

I wanted to make a book about bugs because I find them fascinating and I know lots of kids, especially little boys, do too. There are many books about bugs with cute illustrations, but in my opinion there should be more books for kids with real photos as illustrations. Honestly, some real bugs look like aliens, right? But the truth is there are more of them than us on the earth!

I'm looking forward to using the book in my ESL classes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

10 COUNTING BOARD BOOKS for an early start with numbers

Here are 10 different counting BOARD BOOKS. Board books are small enough for tiny hands and tough enough to withstand rough treatment, so they are perfect for ages 1 to 3.

 by Melanie Gerth

Little kids love to touch the ladybugs in this book as they count them! The ladybugs disappear one by one as the reader moves through the book.

 by Karen Katz

I love Karen Katz's books! This adorable story counts how many kisses a tired baby needs - a perfect book for bedtime.



This board book with bright, colorful illustrations goes all the way up to 100!

 by Eric Carle

Count the fruit in this cute board book by one of the world's most famous authors of picture books.

 by Jerry Pallotta

Kids can learn colors and counting at the same time with this colorful butterfly book with ten real butterfly species from around the world.

by Susan Goldman Rubin

Delectable paintings, etchings, and drawings make for a delicious first book of numbers as well as an early introduction to fine art.


Children will enjoy developing number skills as they sing along with this popular traditional rhyme. This clever board book has innovative die-cut holes.

by Marvel Press

I know quite a few little boys who would absolutely love to own a counting book with their favorite superheroes!

A counting Book by Anthony Browne

Gorillas, gibbons, macaques, mandrills, ring-tailed lemurs, spider monkeys and other primates to count. Anthony Browne's illustrations are wonderful!

by Eric Carle

Even though we already have one Eric Carle book on this list, no list of counting books would be complete without this classic board book.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Free E-book to download

Page with butterflies from Counting Book of Bugs
One of the butterfly pages in Counting Book of Bugs
From May 1st to May 5th you can download my new kids' picture book, Counting Book of Bugs, for free (normal price is US$2.99). It's for kids who love bugs, and for kids who are learning to count. You can sing along with the words. Try it out on your preschooler.

This e-book is available on all the Amazon Kindle stores including Japan and UK.

 I need reviews on Amazon, so if you left an honest review I would really appreciate it!