In Hello Numbers, by Rebecca Klemm Ph.D. and the team from NumbersAlive!, we get a peek at the secret lives of numbers. Did you know that numbers have their own amazing personalities? The number six loves playing guitar, and zero is actually a hero in the number world. This full sensory experience for early learners brings the concepts of numeracy to the forefront by reinforcing how numbers play a part in our everyday world. It allows for children to explore and learn about numerical names, shapes, and patterns as well as help bridge the gap between the numbers themselves and how they are used across our daily routines and activities. The numbers 0 – 9 burst to life in stories, songs, dance, plushies, and an app, making math friendly and fun. Rebecca Klemm Ph.D. is an award winning author, storyteller, and statistician. She has actively advocated for children’s number literacy programs by bringing NumbersAlive! to schools, festivals and even performed for the Library of Congress. Let’s take a peek at the Hello Numbers Discovery Pack and app. Opening the backpack was a treat. It is loaded with materials to get even the most reluctant pre-schooler engaged. The discovery pack contains a book, CD, number plushies, and links to the Numbers Alive! website (here). The app is a free download on iPad, Nook, and Android Devices. The plushy numbers are adorable. They are in the shape of the numbers 0-9 and are embroidered with incredible detail, including the counting values for each number. By personifying the numbers and identifying how numbers are embedded in everyday life, it makes math downright fun. All the numbers have magnets attached, making them easy to connect and combine them. Kids loved putting them together and pulling them apart which is a great way for little ones to learn trunk control, bimanual skills, as well as have their hands work in both a tandem and opposing manner. The storybook is written in six languages ripe for bilingual learning. The number zero serves as a decoder for a secret message or picture close up within the page, and an original and short rhyming script for each number. Illustrations are bright and colorful without visual clutter. The content has been well researched as well as the pacing of delivering the material for students. The pages are luscious and thick, with just the right amount of texture so that chubby hands can turn the pages independently. When listening to the CD, there is a listening portion and a dance portion for each number. While the content is similar to the book, the songs are different on the CD. Kids are challenged to then think laterally rather than in concrete repetitive view. Tip: please do not review the songs for class while drinking a beverage. They are so laughing out loud funny, you’ll risk needing to change clothing. I love the dance number nine song, and it would be a blast to play hide and seek for the specific number being played. The app Hello Numbers app is an accompaniment to the book and manipulatives. It has original content that can be used independently but does contain decoding visuals with the decoder from the book, if that option is selected. Using both together ensures carry over, and the ability to generalize content. Having common themes that are presented in a slightly different way keeps kids flexible and helps with transitions. Transitions are directly related to learning about time and space…in that activities are measured and have a beginning, middle, and end. And that is an important factor in learning about spatial and numerical content. Toddlers and preschoolers need expectations to learn about time. The app content for each number begins simply but evolves to learning specific numerical content. Version 2 is promised to come out shortly and is something we are looking forward to seeing. In sum, you can’t get a better numerical literacy program for preschoolers. It contains a full content package with the Discovery Pack. Support and research back up learning. I would love the app to be more dynamic, but that is for my own interest and not for Toddlers and preschoolers that need time to process the content. Check it out, it is a TWA top pick and a fun addition to any preschool math curricula.
Written by Jo Booth
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.
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