Literature Based Arithmetic

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

Judith Viorst

I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyday reading, because the little boy and the actions of his family are probably not what I would want to glorify in my home.  But, this book will give you an excellent springboard for discussing money!


As you read, subtract the money Alexander spends to see how he loses all his money by the end of the day.


Create “money bags” around your house, marked with numbers.  I created 12 different piles of coins.  I gave my students a piece of paper to walk around and add each pile of money to find its total amount.

Money Manipulatives:

I keep a small makeup bag with a collection of coins (and a dollar or two) with our math manipulatives.  I have found this collection to be invaluable for actually working with money.  You can purchase the fake plastic coin sets at the dollar store, but I’ve found real coins are much more fun!

Across the Curriculum:

Social Studies

My children were very interested to know about “bus tokens.”  I was able to talk about transportation in large cities and methods of payment.