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Shape Books- See the Difference

by Early Math Counts

Here are two examples of bookmaking – one that I consider to be developmentally appropriate, interesting, engaging, and best practice and another that I consider to be boring, and – for lack of a better term – lazy.

I frequently hear early childhood teachers introducing shapes as a curricular concept to children.  This is good – understanding that shapes have attributes and names is important. But shape goes far beyond circles. squares, rectangles and triangles.  This example is the kind of thing I often see in the field.
Shape book


These are the first several pages of a mini book that was available for children to work on during free play.  You might argue that it is OK.  It is a book about “Shapes” and children can color in the shapes to explore their attributes.  As you can clearly see, Louie couldn’t be bothered to even finish coloring in the pages (there were 2 more after these, also left blank).  As a coloring activity (supporting fine motor skills) it is OK although I know there are better ways for children to use their developing fine motor skills.  Mostly, I think activities like this are a waste of paper.

Next, take a look at a “Shapes” book that Noah made when he was 4.  I am not going to tell you what each page says (you have to figure it out by practicing reading his invented spelling attempts).  Notice how there isn’t a circle, square, or rectangle in the pages- but they certainly are “Shapes”.  Why do you think I believe this to be a much more meaningful exercise for children?

Wiggle Squiggle 1 Cirlce Circel Squiggle Castle Tops 5 Star

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