Top 10 must-read books on number talks

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How to make math interesting for children? Teachers do face this dilemma quite often. Thankfully, there are a few teaching tools that can assist in familiarizing the students with numbers, calculations, problem solving strategies and so on. One of such tools is – number talks.

Number talks involve talking about numbers through pictures, hand gestures, etc. The purpose is to build the mathematical abilities in the child while making the subject more interesting.

Sources teachers can refer to for learning and practicing number talks

Teaching math through number talks requires lots of practice as well as experimenting. The special education experts and researchers share their experiences and knowledge time to time in the form of DVDs, blogs, interviews, number talks books and guides.

Of these resources, books come as an easy solution for teachers. The books on number talks are enriched with practice sets, hints, related theories and etc.

The practical use of number talks books is realized in bringing a natural flair in the way of doing number talks. Also, the lots of practice sets help boost the concept learning process.

Listed here are some very useful books on number talks that can be helpful in mastering this teaching technique.

1. Number Talks: Whole Number Computation, Grades K-5

Number Talks: Whole Number Computation, Grades K-5 book

Designed to meet the learning requirements of teacher who want to introduce number talks in the class, this book offers complete guidance and practice resource. There is a facilitator’s guide provided too. With the help of streaming video clips, the teachers are introduced to in-class method of using number talks for encouraging students to do mental math.

This number talk book is designed in alignment with  Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. It is useful for both the beginners as well as those who have some experience. The latter can refer it for getting guidance on solving purposeful problems.

2. Number Talks: Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages

sherry parrish number talks percentages fractions decimals

If you need guidance on how to make fractions, decimals and percentages easier for children who struggle with numbers, this is the book for you. The book has a rich collection of math problems that you can discuss in class. It can be used to encourage collaborative way of learning among students.

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A repertoire of problems of various kinds, number talk guidance through examples and support available in the form of facilitator guide and video streaming clips make this product a purposeful resource. It is useful for K-3 and above grades. Students having readiness for different difficulty levels can benefit from it.

3. Making number talks matter

Making number talks matter book

This number talks book is suitable for making the children’s foundation stronger in mathematical concepts. The book addresses many common questions that teachers have in mind regarding how to make number talks session engaging and resourceful for child. It covers topics like thinking strategies, hand gestures that compel students to think and so on. Not only for teachers, even parents can benefit from this number talks book and can use it for home tutoring the child on mathematics problems. It is suitable for students studying at elementary, middle school or high school levels.

4. Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies

This book gives complete support for teachers who are at the beginning of using number talks in their teaching methods. Teachers who know number talks already can also use this book for practicing purposes. It can help make the number talks time something that students would look forward to. With answers to the questions like how to use number talks and how to lead into student’s thinking and pose questions accordingly, this book can help meeting the purpose of classroom math talk in an effective manner.

5. Clothesline Math: The Master Number Sense Maker

clothesline math number talk books

Let numbers make more sense to the students with this number talks book. It is an impressively enriched teaching resource for making math fun for K-12 students. With the help of lots of problems to offer, number talks guide support and rich repertoire of hands-on activities, it is one of the most interesting resources for teaching professionals.

It can help students internalize number sense. The teachers can make the problem solving easier for kids with this book. They also find good help in terms of pedagogy, instructions and lessons for familiarizing the students with K-12 math topics.

6. Classroom-Ready Number Talks for Conceptual Understanding and Computational Fluency

Classroom-Ready Number Talks for Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade Teachers number talks book

Number talks book from Classroom-Ready make the teacher truly classroom-ready, as the name suggests. They can get to learn how to promote interactive ways of problem solving in the class  and delivering better conceptual understanding in the process.

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With the help of tactics like turn and talk, and others, they can encourage the children to attain computational fluency. This book is designed for the teachers mentoring students from third, fourth and fifth grade. Important topics like place value, fractions, algebraic expressions, etc. can be made interesting and easy to learn with this number talk book.

7. Classroom-Ready Number Talks for Number Sense and Math Facts

Classroom-Ready Number Talks for  Number Sense and Math Facts number talks books

Classroom-ready number talks book for Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers offers about thousands of interactive activities and collaborative strategies. Thus, this book can be of great help in introducing elementary mathematics to the students. Full of number talks aimed at providing teaching support for number sense, this book inculcates interest towards math in children. An interesting collection of math facts is another highlight of this book.

Number talk how-to’s, grade-level specific strategies, visual and numerical examples, scaffolding suggestions, and questions for developing understanding are other highlights of this book. The teaching hour can become more interesting as ready-to-use number talks help teachers dive into the activity without wasting time in planning.

8. Digging Deeper: Making Number Talks Matter Even More

Digging Deeper: Making Number Talks Matter Even More number talks books

In the series of some very useful number talks books, Digging Deeper is another book worth mentioning. It isone of the interesting and resourceful number talks books that can help teachers learn how to make this process response-oriented. The teacher can learn what questions can elicit thinking, how to use wait time, how to nudge students to think more creatively, and so on.

This book is designed for teaching students of Grades 3-10. Listening, reacting and the little expressions are very important for making number talks time productive and performance-oriented. Helping children to discuss and strategize becomes easier with this number talk book.

9. Talk Moves

talk moves a teacher guide for using classroom discussions in math number talks books

This book is an award-winning work that resulted from four-year research project that the US Department of Education funded. It is divided into three sections – a. Getting started, b. Math Talk – what do we talk about, c. Implementing classroom discussions.

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This book focuses on talk moves and tools that can help teachers propel into number talk and make classroom discussions a way of learning math. It also guides the teachers on the best talk practices recommended for easy math learning. There are tips, formats and tools also provided for enabling teachers to do number talks.

10. Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math Class, Middle School

Daily Routines to Jump-Start Math Class, Middle School number talks books

The start of the math class dictates its mood and flow till the end. Thus, it has to be powerful, engaging and certainly, mind-stimulating. As a teacher, you may use this book to learn how to achieve this kind of start.

The main objectives of this book include fostering conceptual understanding, revisiting old learning and connecting it with newly touched topic resulting in strong mathematical reasoning. The book has a collection of content examples, variations and extensions that are apt for the grades 6-8.

How to approach the number talks with books

Sherry Parish, an expert in number talks, suggests that the teachers can approach number talks with books by learning:

  1. How to start and end the session
  2. When to keep the number talks session
  3. How to pose questions and to utilize wait time
  4. Use of turn and talk kind of instructional practices to encourage collaboration among the students

So, keep the number talks books ready with you when you are planning to help students understand math and develop a liking for it. These books serve as guide for making number talks session the best hour of the day.


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