I am so excited to be back with another blog link up with the Reading Crew! This time, we are focusing on Fall Mentor Texts! Perfect for informational studies, and just a little bit spooky! Not only are we all sharing ideas for mentor texts, you can win all the books above!
Reading in the Mathematics Classroom by Diana Metsisto The students know how to do the math, they just don't understand what the question is asking. The thing I don't like about this new series is the way the problems are stated; they're hard for the students to get what to do.
The reading level is too hard for the students.
I have to simplify, to reword the questions for my students, and then they can do it. In my three years working as a mathematics coach to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers, I've often heard statements such as these.
There seems to be an idea that somehow it is unfair to expect students to interpret problems on standardized tests and in curriculum texts: Certainly teachers try to help students to read and interpret mathematics text and discuss problem-solving strategies with them.
Unless mathematics teachers are generalists and have been trained in reading instruction, they don't see literacy as part of their skill set. More important, they don't appreciate that reading a mathematics text or problem is really very different from other types of reading, requiring specific strategies unique to mathematics.
In addition, most reading teachers do not teach the skills necessary to successfully read in mathematics class. Listening to teachers reword or interpret mathematics problems for their students has led me to start conversations with teachers about taking time to work specifically on reading and interpretation.
One strategy we arrived at is for teachers to model their thinking out loud as they read and figure out what a problem is asking them to do. Other strategies include dialoguing with students about any difficulties they may have in understanding a problem and asking different students to share their understanding.
The strategies that we have shared have come from years of working in the classroom to improve student comprehension. None of us had previously studied the unique difficulties involved in reading mathematics texts.
All mathematics teachers recognize the need to teach their students to read and interpret what I'll call mathematical sentences: Knowing how to use the unique symbols that make up the shorthand of mathematical statements—such as numerals, operation signs, and variables that stand in for numbers—has always been part of what mathematics teachers are expected to teach.
So in a limited way, we have always been reading teachers without realizing it. Martinez and Martinez highlight the importance of reading to mathematics students: At the same time, they begin to see mathematics, not as an isolated school subject, but as a life subject—an integral part of the greater world, with connections to concepts and knowledge encountered across the curriculum.
Our traditional form of mathematics education is really training, not education, and has deprived our students of becoming truly literate. Knowing what procedures to perform on cue, as a trained animal performs tricks, is not the basic purpose of learning mathematics.
Unless we can apply mathematics to real life, we have not learned the discipline. If we intend for students to understand mathematical concepts rather than to produce specific performances, we must teach them to engage meaningfully with mathematics texts.
When we talk about students learning to read such texts, we refer to a transaction in which the reader is able to ponder the ideas that the text presents. The meaning that readers draw will depend largely on their prior knowledge of the information and on the kinds of thinking they do after they read the text Draper, Can they synthesize the information?
Can they decide what information is important? Can they draw inferences from what they've read?
Reading Requirements for Mathematics Text Let's look at some ways in which mathematics text differs from text in other subjects. Research has shown that mathematics texts contain more concepts per sentence and paragraph than any other type of text. They are written in a very compact style; each sentence contains a lot of information, with little redundancy.
The text can contain words as well as numeric and non-numeric symbols to decode. In addition, a page may be laid out in such a way that the eye must travel in a different pattern than the traditional left-to-right one of most reading.
There may also be graphics that must be understood for the text to make sense; these may sometimes include information that is intended to add to the comprehension of a problem but instead may be distracting.
Most mathematics textbooks include a variety of sidebars containing prose and pictures both related and unrelated to the main topic being covered.
In these we might find a mixed review of previous work, extra skills practice, a little vignette from an almanac, a historical fact, or a connection to something from another culture. Such sidebars often contain a series of questions that are not part of the actual exercises.
Although they are probably added to give color and interest to the look of the page, they can be very confusing to readers, who might wonder what they are supposed to be paying attention to. Spending time early in the year analyzing the structure of the mathematics textbook with students can help them to read and comprehend that text.
When I reflect on my own experiences in the classroom, I realize that students need help finding their way around a new text. They often will just read one sentence after another, not differentiating among problem statements, explanatory information, and supportive prose.
As we strive to develop independent learners, asking students questions about the text structure can help them to focus on the idea that texts have an underlying organization, that different texts may have different structures, and that it is important to analyze the structure of the text being used.
In addition to the unique page formatting and structure of most mathematics texts, the basic structure of mathematics problems differs from that of most informational writing. In a traditional reading paragraph, there is a topic sentence at the beginning and the remaining sentences fill in details that expand on and support this main idea; in a mathematics problem, the key idea often comes at the end of the paragraph, in the form of a question or statement to find something e.25 Reading Strategies That Work In Every Content Area.
Reading is reading. By understanding that letters make sounds, we can blend those sounds together to make whole sounds that symbolize meaning we can all exchange with one another.
Improve your students’ reading comprehension with ReadWorks. Access thousands of high-quality, free K articles, and create online assignments with them for your students. A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies: 75 Practical Reading and Writing Ideas by Elaine Stephens and Jean Brown.
Published by Christopher-Gordon in Content Area Literacy: Interactive Teaching for Active Learning by Anthony Manzo, Ula Manzo, and Thomas Estes. Published by John Wiley & Sons in Reading and Writing Strategies. Use these interventions to support special education students struggling with reading and writing.
Students who have language delays, language deficits, and reading and writing difficulties will benefit from these strategies detailing how to . In , Countryman's book, Writing to Learn Mathematics: Strategies That Work, K, captured the attention of mathematics educators amid a flurry of interest and ideas (e.g., Quinn & Wilson, ; Sipka, ).
One strategy that may be familiar to elementary reading teachers, and which seems particularly useful in the context of mathematics, is that of guided reading sessions (Allen, ). In such sessions, the teacher is still responsible for helping students connect what they are reading to prior knowledge.