Is Reading Necessary In A Mathematics Classroom?

Is Reading Necessary In A Mathematics Classroom? Absolutely! I am going to explain why using reading strategies in a mathematics classroom is necessary:

According to Adams (2015), "Engaging students in mathematics through reading and discussing mathematical ideas is an important means of developing these mathematical practices and the skills needed to be successful in such tasks. Reading is a fundamental skill for learning in all disciplines, including mathematics. Independent readers can gain new knowledge and understanding from reading a variety of mathematics-focused texts. Students’ reading abilities also influence their performance on mathematics assessments." I find that many of my students who struggle with reading comprehension have difficulty understanding what the word problem is asking of them. They also work out problems without reading directions, which is a direct result of them making careless errors.

When I incorporate reading strategies in my classroom to help my students solve word problems they don't seem to understand that reading is an important skill to help with these type of problems. They don't seem to understand that in order to do the math, you have to understand what you have to do. You can't go into a kitchen and start baking a cake without the recipe unless you have mastered it, so why work out a math problem without reading the directions unless you have mastered the skill.  

Research shows that students who perform low in reading also perform low in math. Indicating, there is a direct correlation between reading and math. This is why students who perform low in reading struggle with math word problems. 

Strategies to help students excel in the Math Classroom:

The Buck System:

 A simple acronym called “BUCK,” is a step-by-step procedure that will help you navigate any complex word problem.  What does BUCK mean?

B: Box the question

U: Underline important information

C: Circle vocabulary words

K: Knock-out info you don’t need

Example Video:

Reading the Problems Out Loud Strategy

Research states that when we have students read the word problems out loud this helps them as well as their classmates understand what the problems is asking of them. When they read the word problems out loud they are able to process the problem mentally and think about what it is asking them to do. Think about it this way. When we communicate with our friends, family members, coworkers, etc. we are speaking words out loud to each other. We process what they are saying before we respond to them. This goes hand in hand when we read the math word problems out loud. 

R.I.D.E Strategy: 

R-- Remember the problem correctly
I-- Identify the relevant information
D-- Determine the operations and unit for expressing
the answer
E-- Enter the correct numbers, calculate and check the answer

More information here

Download the following Math teacher tip sheet that provides some useful strategies to help struggling math students solve math word problems. 

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Figure This Challenge #56

  • Complete Solution will be given on May 17, 2015

Complete Solution:



Created by Wanda Collins May 10, 2015 at 1:56pm. Last updated by Wanda Collins May 10, 2015.

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Fun Math Facts:

Math Limerick

Question: Why is this a mathematical limerick?

( (12 + 144 + 20 + 3 Sqrt[4]) / 7 ) + 5*11 = 92 + 0 .


A dozen, a gross, and a score,
plus three times the square root of four, divided by seven, plus five times eleven, is nine squared and not a bit more.

---Jon Saxton (math textbook author)

Presentation Suggestions:
Challenge students to invent their own math limerick!

The Math Behind the Fact:
It is fun to mix mathematics with poetry.


Su, Francis E., et al. "Math Limerick." Math Fun Facts.


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