Original Research

Counting on Frank: Using bibliotherapy in mathematics teaching to prevent de-geniusing

Joseph M. Furner, Cheryl Kenney
Pythagoras | Vol 32, No 2 | a133 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v32i2.133 | © 2011 Joseph M. Furner, Cheryl Kenney | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 October 2011 | Published: 02 December 2011

About the author(s)

Joseph M. Furner, Florida Atlantic University, United States
Cheryl Kenney, Limestone Creek Elementary, Florida, United States


Today the understanding of mathematics is critical in an increasingly technological age. Teachers must play an important role to ensure that all students display confidence in their ability to do mathematics. Often gifted students of mathematics can be made to feel bad by their peers just because they know mathematics and things come easily to them. Children’s and adolescent literature has now been recognised as a means of teaching mathematics to students through the use of stories to make the mathematics concepts relevant and meaningful. Literature can also be used as a form of therapy to reach students who may be frustrated with children picking on them for being good at mathematics. Story and picture books such as Counting on Frank, Math Curse and A Gebra Named Al are now available to use in the classroom as forms of bibliotherapy in helping students come to terms with issues relating to mathematics that haunt them. In this article we discuss the phenomenon of dumbing down by the gifted population to fit in with their peers. We propose using reading and discussion (bibliotherapy) to aid in preventing de-geniusing of mathematically gifted students.


Gifted education; teaching strategies; literature and picture books; bibliotherapy; de-geniusing


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