ESD provides math literacy experiences for families

March 6, 2022

ESD provides math literacy experiences for families

By Kim Beardslee, Correspondent. 

West Shore School News is a presentation of West Shore Educational Service District in partnership with Mason County Press and Oceana County Press. 

Often the term “literacy” is interpreted as a skill applied to reading and writing. At West Shore Educational Service District (WSESD), Instructional Services staff have been focusing on creating and distributing math literacy materials and resources to promote positive experiences in mathematics. The materials, “Math Moments”, will be distributed to elementary schools and families in the local school districts that WSESD serves.  These schools and families are all located in Lake, Mason, and Oceana counties.

The WSESD Math Team, with the support of the Great Start Collaborative, has developed the program for children in grades kindergarten through second and are working on the creation of more materials for grades three through five as well as pre-kindergarten and birth to age three.  

ESD staff members said that play involving math games and puzzles for numeracy development is comparable to reading a book every night for literacy development and that brain research shows that all brains can grow in the area of math and growth can be supported through positive family experiences and activities.

Based on these concepts, and “Essential Instructional Practices for Early Mathematics” developed by Michigan’s Early Math Task Force, math engagement cards were developed to bring math into everyday life for schools and families.

Each card has four sections containing tips for families about the math concepts and support for each grade level. The printable engagement cards provide quick, simple ideas for families to support their child’s math development in a fun and interactive way. With prior staff training these cards along with a game for every student in kindergarten through second grade are being distributed to schools. Prepared materials are being distributed during family nights, conferences, or directly sent home. A web-page has been designed to provide families with video examples, modeling parents playing with their children, and materials for guidance ( The cards and games also contain a QR Code that can be scanned by an electronic device, which will lead directly to the Math Moments materials.

In addition, WSESD Great Start Collaborative (GSC) has provided literacy activities in the area of reading for families and communities in the form of book walks.  SEE VIDEO. 

The GSC, in partnership with local community organizations, have conducted book walks in Lake, Mason, and Oceana counties. Past book walks have involved reading books and receiving tangible items such as “Going on a Bear Hunt” and “The Old Lady That Swallowed a Bat”.  Most recently, a book walk was held at Ludington State Park.  Approximately 50 families were given flashlights before beginning the book “The Mitten”. The book’s pages were spread along a lantern-lit path and were read along the way. One of the children participating said, “I like the book walk cause it makes the walk interesting and fun”. Upon conclusion of the walk children were each given a mitten with a copy of “The Mitten” for follow-up reading at home. The book walks have been well received in our local communities and to learn more following for upcoming events.

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