Singapore Math, math workbooks, best math workbooks

Best Summer Math Supplementation Work Books and More

Best Math Work Books

Yes I am that kind of mom that believes in summer math. Math is a learned skill not a gift of genetics. It’s like a shark; either you are moving forwards or you die. Ok, you don’t actually die but you start to forget and when September rolls around, you’ve gone backwards from where you were in June.

Is it a terrible thing to need review in September? No but my argument for summer math is that you want your child to feel confident in math so starting the year with sharpened skills that perhaps are ahead of the curve is good place to be.

I am especially passionate about girls believing that they excel at math. Even if they hate math. I tell my daughters frequently, “You can say that you hate math, but you can’t say that you are bad at math. Because if you think you are bad at math, guess what? We’re doing more math.”

So my kids will work on their math textbooks each summer because I am a work book kind of person. I like clear goals and covering a complete curriculum. I bribe heavily to get my kids to comply. What seems to work best for us is small frequent rewards with a final large kicker, usually a consumer electronic.

Our weekly reward is $5 to spend on anything in exchange for 3 weeks of math problems. For Daily Word Problems, this is 15 problems. My kids can do 3 weeks in one sitting which is nice for the summer because we do one sitting every three weeks.

Timing is everything. I don’t try to compete during the day. I strike at bedtime, preferably on a Friday or Saturday night when they can sleep in.

“Do you want to go to bed, or work on math?” I ask my kids. “You can stay up an extra half hour if you want to do math.” What do you know? They all want to pile in my bed to work on math! Funny how that works! But it does work!

For completing their book, I give a big prize. Usually a consumer electronic. Yeah, I know. Pricey. I justify it by calculating the money I save by not hiring a math tutor or paying for math classes. We do the math work book for the grade they will be entering in the fall.

Do your kids do summer math? What do you do and how do you get your kids to work on academics during the summer?

p.s. I have math app reviews here, here, and here. These are also great to slip in some math during the summer.

Heavy Duty Summer Math

My 4th grader will be doing the 5th grade book and my 1st grader has already started on the 2nd grade math book from last summer. Word problems are great for logical reasoning and for translating math concepts from words. There isn’t enough word problem practice in the early elementary school Everyday Math Curriculum when the number operations are just adding and subtracting so these books help give an intuitive feel for math and words.

By 3rd grade, word problems are on the standardized tests with many more math operations and it gets more difficult with kids having to “memorize” terms to translate rather than have an intuitive feel for what the problem is asking.

My oldest has done one practice book each summer and while she hates math, she finds 4 step word problems in 5th and 6th grade to be easy, and even sort of fun.

Daily Word Problems:  Student Practice Books.

Singapore Math

I think this is the best math curriculum around. We use this during the school year to clarify a concept if my kids are confused. I don’t use it for the summer because I like the challenge of word problems which this curriculum is not as strong in though there are a separate word problem workbooks.

For preschool, 1 year before kindergarten.  Earlybird Kindergarten 1A and 1B.

For incoming Kindergarten.  Earlybird Kindergarten 2A and 2B.

For incoming 1st grade, Primary Mathematics 1A and 1B.

For incoming 2nd grade, Primary Mathematics Textbook 2A and 2B.

For incoming grade 3.

For incoming grade 4.  (It says on the book that this is for grade 5, but it correlates to grade 4 at my school).

For incoming grade 5.

For my 6th grader, we are using Life of Fred, a home schooling series of textbooks that weave a story around math concepts. I like how it’s very visual and easy to understand.

My daughter chose this book, Decimals and Percents,to complete this summer which is like a semester’s worth of material. It’s a thin textbook. It pairs with Fractions.

I noticed that there is a new elementary book as well.

Online programs like IXL Math or Ten Marks provide tutoring as well as math practice.

There are also math classes like Russian Math, Mathnasium or Kumon that might be in your town. I describe on the ones in my town here.

Math Lite

Math and Science Apps are a great way to focus on one concept. I have math, science, and literacy apps here.

Top 10 Math Apps

2nd/3rd Grade Math Apps from My Mom Friend Liz

Best Science Math Apps

Best Really Fun or Like a Tutor Math Apps

Math Picture Books

I really love using picture books to teach math concepts. Our latest favorite is the Sir Cumference series.

Assisted by his knight, Sir Cumference, and using ideas offered by his wife and son, King Arthur finds the perfect shape for his table.

When Sir Cumference drinks a potion which turns him into a dragon, his son Radius searches for the magic number known as pi, which will restore him to his former shape.

Sir Cumference and Lady Di planned a surprise birthday party for King Arthur, but they didn’t expect so many guests to show up. How many lunches will they need? And with more guests arriving by the minute, what about dinner? Sir Cumference and Lady Di have to figure out a quick way to count the guests to bring order to the party. Sir Cumference and his friends have been entertaining young and old alike for years as they introduce important math concepts with clarity and humor.

Radius is on a quest to earn his knighthood! With only a circular medallion, a mysterious poem, and his own wits to guide him, he must find and rescue a missing king.

Xaxon Yellowbearyd was the fiercest Viking warrior of his time. Now a map to his hidden treasure lies in Radius’s and Per’s hands. Together the cousins must decode the strange numbered grid on the map-and figure out the secret of the Viking’s X and Y axes. As bungling bandits pursue them, Radius and Per use coordinate geometry in their quest for “treasure of the greatest measure”.

In an adventurous title that teaches math skills, such as finding the area and perimeter of a rectangle and a circle, young Per must figure out how to unlock the secrets of the mysterious island of Immeter.

King Arthur has issued a challenge. The first knight to find the sword Edgecalibur will be the next king. Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and their son, Radius, race to help their friend, Vertex, find the sword.

Math That Is Pure Fun

Admittedly, this is not my strength, but I have been collecting great fun math ideas on my Pinterest board, Math Made Fun for Kids. I also have fun and free web math games on the footer of my home page.

To view any book or math textbook at Amazon, please click on image of book.


Follow PragmaticMom’s board Math Fun on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Claire

    Wow! My kid will going to like this. He loves Math books, thanks that you’ve shared this with us.
    Claire recently posted…Why Cant I Get PregnantMy Profile

  2. Yea! I was just telling my daughter we’re doing math this summer – it’s even on our ‘summer fun’ list because I’m going to prove to her that math is fun and relevant!! LOVE the picture book recommendations you have – I need to get those since she’s a HUGE reader, so I know she won’t balk at math if it’s in a fun book.

    She too has declared that she hates math – I loved it growing up so I’m on a mission to at least help her to enjoy it 🙂 Thanks for the great resources!
    Jacquie F. recently posted…Create a Summer Fun ListMy Profile

    • Hi Jacqui,

      I am so glad that you are encouraging your daughter to love math. I think that makes all the difference in the world. And summer math needn’t be a chore. There are fun ways to stay sharp like apps, picture books, and just turning everyday life into a math word problem.

  3. Ann

    This is such a great idea! You are giving your kids the greatest gift doing this!!!

    I am definitely going to do this this summer with my kids! I LOVE the idea of letting them stay up late on the weekends to do it – clever!!!

    Love the name Sir Cumference, will have to check those books out.
    Ann recently posted…Old Timey WordsMy Profile

  4. Betsy

    Thank you for all the suggestions! I will check out for my youngest. Here’s what I’m using for my oldest who finds math challenging,

    A previous math tutor introduced us to this series. I usually hire a tutor but am going to attempt to do it myself this summer, wish me luck 🙂

    Love the idea of letting them stay up late to do math!!

    • Hi Betsy,
      Thank you SO much for sharing your great math summer skills books. I will check them out for my oldest. Good luck with stepping in as math tutor. I bribe heavily with some of the money I save from hiring math tutor. A cell phone has been very motivating for my 6th grader.

  5. Artchoo

    ‘K, just ordered the word problems book. Plus, while I was on Amazon, I threw some teeth whitening gel into my cart. That Amazon is a dangerous place. Thanks for telling us your math/kids techniques as well; I sort of struggle with how to implement the math-doing.
    Artchoo recently posted…Basic Art Materials For ChildrenMy Profile

    • Hi Artchoo,
      My 5th grade word problem book came yesterday. Now my 4th grader is hard at work to earn a cell phone which is what her sister got at same age but it took her sister until December to finish. She might finish in a month — or so that is what she wants to do. My pleasure to share my math tutoring pains, trials and tribulations.

      Hope you smile is gleaming! Sorry about Amazon making you buy more stuff!

  6. Leiman

    Hi, would I need to order both the textbooks and workbooks for 1A and 1B? 4 books in total?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Leiman,
      For summer supplementation I would just order the textbooks for 1A and 1B and not the workbooks too. The textbooks have some fact practice and I feel that is enough.

  7. Rahim Ghani


    I am impressed with your sharing on the Singapore Math experience. As a publisher of the Primary Math and Math in Focus series, I would like to share with you our digital curriculum, Math Buddies! We are presently promoting this digital component very aggressively to school in the Tri State area. I have worked for Marshall Cavendish Singapore since 2007 actively promoting online component to schools there and I am now based in New York Marshall Cavendish Corporation since this January to implement Math Buddies.

    Do reply me if you’re interested in a trial account for Math Buddies. I will be more than glad to share it with you.

    Have a good day ahead!

    Kind Regards,

    Rahim Ghani
    Senior Manager, Marshall Cavendish Education
    Marshall Cavendish Corporation
    99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
    Phone: (800) 821-9881 Ext. 310, Cell: 914-519-8894

  8. Hello Mia,
    I came across your blog article here via Pinterest. Great write-up!
    We use many of the books you use, but was glad to read about the Daily Word Problem books. I’ll be checking them out. 🙂
    Some other interesting books I’m using for my children is “Mathematicians Are People Too” and “What’s Your Angle Pythagorus?” These may be of interest to you, too. 🙂
    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!!
    Catherine recently posted…Cherry season!My Profile

  9. I really love to have a summer math with my daughter but she feels like it’s kinda boring and difficult. She has no interest in Math, I could say!

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