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Welcome to SMILING DOG™ Math Books


Beginnings are exciting and terrifying and important. Why did I wake up one day and say "I'm going to make a series of math books for pre-k through third-grade kids?"


I Want to Help More Kids Love Math

I love math, and it pains me when people say "I hate math." or "I'm not a math person." When I hear that, I often ask "When did you stop liking math?" "What happened?" "When did it stop being fun?" "When did it stop making sense?" 


Number Sense

So often the answers hark back to a beginning—a very flawed beginning. Too many children have a faulty math foundation. Very quickly, this poor foundation limits their ability to solve problems; absorb new math ideas; and makes them start disliking, and even fearing math. It's like forcing a novice skier to ski an expert slope. It's not going to go very well and it can be downright traumatizing.


Number sense is the foundation for all higher-level math, according to Stanford Professor Jo Boaler and other math-education experts. But, when it comes to developing this critical groundwork, many children "have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly." 


From Stanford News, January 29, 2015. Read article 



This is why SMILING DOG ™ MATH books focus on the "beginning" of a child's relationship with numbers.


SMILING DOG ™ MATH books incorporate everything I know about how children learn so that the books can be part of a great math "beginning." Children like to have fun. Let's embrace that and use that, not ignore that. Children remember stories, pictures, rhyme. Children remember what they understand. Children remember better if they use what they know and enjoy the process of tapping that new learning. Children remember better things that they've actually done. Children remember what's visually interesting.


So the story behind SMILING DOG ™ MATH books is that they are illustrated stories designed to help children develop a strong, flexible number sense. All books have fun characters (and a silly dog); engaging plots (all related to math); and, when appropriate, they have key math concepts woven into catchy rhymes.


Please Mark Up and Cut Up the Book!

All books include illustrations that reflect important math ideas that are designed to be colored in and even cut out and displayed around the house. And, yes, there's plenty of opportunity for fun, no pressure practice. (Not surprisingly, students learn best, according to Dr. Boaler, when they enjoy working on relevant problems.")


So, welcome to SMILING DOG ™ MATH books—where kids have fun building a strong and flexible math "beginning."

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