Great Books for Teaching Counting and Number Recognition

Learning to Count with Picture Books

This is a list of my personal top ten for teaching counting. Teaching with picture books makes learning fun. There are many great picture books that help children learn about number identification and counting. The following books are some of my favorite books to teach counting and to help students learn to identify number. Most of the books focus on counting to ten with the exception of two that offer counting to 20 and counting to 100 by tens.

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews is always a hit with with 4 and 5 year olds. This book focuses on what you can do with 10 black dots. When reading this book, be sure to have children predict what will come next, prompting them to count. This is another book that should have repeated readings to support counting to 10. You want to draw attention to how the dots are arranged.
Humor, rhyme and counting mixed in with most young learners favorite topic: Dinosaurs. This is another strong book to teach counting to ten. Repeated readings and using prompts to encourage learners to chime in will soon have them counting to ten and understanding the one to one concept. This is a great pre-school book with great illustrations. Counting to ten becomes such fun!
One Gorilla is a fun book for introducing counting because it allows you to focus the children on finding and counting the hidden creatures. The illustrations are wonderful and your young readers will love finding: two butterflies, three budgerigars, four squirrels, five pandas, six rabbits, seven frogs, eight fish, nine birds, and ten cats in the beautiful scenes throughout the book. Again, like most books that focus on counting concepts, this book should have repeated readings to help support counting.
With Dr. Seuss books, you can't go wrong. The different characters in this book all have ten apples on their head. As you read this book, prompt the children to count the number of apples on their heads. Beginning learners should point to each apple as they count to ensure they have one to one correspondence.
This is a pattern story about ten monkeys who are jumping on the bed, one falls off when he bumped his head, then there are nine monkeys jumping on the bed. This book helps children count backwards from ten and also supports the concept of one less than. I haven't met a child who didn't absolutely love this book!
What child doesn't find humor in animals being naughty? This book delights young readers as they love the fact that the monkeys are mischevious. When reading this book, encourage readers to chime in as the book is done in rhyme which makes it so much easier for the children to remember the words. Children love to count the monkeys and you'll want to encourage counting on each page! This book is a take off from Ten Monkeys Jumping on the Bed which is another great book to focus counting backwards from ten.
Another great rhyming story book that helps children solidify the concept of counting to ten. The touchy, feely ladybugs disappear and the students learn to count backwards from ten. This is another engaging book that works well with repeated readings.
This book focuses on counting to 20 and then counting to 100 by tens. Bring out the Cheerios and have students count with the book. When children are learning to count, be sure to include manipulatives for a hands on experience. Using Cheerios supports one to one correspondence which is better than students memorizing or rote counting to 10.

You can't go wrong with any of Eric Carle's books, children between 3 and 7 years of age all love them. This book focuses on the days of the week and counting to five. Books like these lend themselves to repeated readings while encouraging children to chime in. This book also supports measurement, graphing, sequencing and time in early math concepts.

This rhyming, pattern book supports learning the numbers to 20 and then counting to 100 by 10. The pattern is 'One told 2 and 2 told 3, I'll race you to the top of the apple tree, Chicka, Chicka, 1,2,3 will there be a place for me.......curvy thirty, flat foot 40....and so on. The numbers are clearly present in the book which gives the reader the opportunity to ask the children to point to 10, or 20 etc. Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom is another favorite done by this author.