They need to learn to read in math

It’s apparent that I need to do more reading strategies in math. I took for granted that my sixth grade advanced math students would be able to tackle this problem, yet only 3 or 4 kids were successful. When I gave them the problem most looked at me as if I had six heads. Here’s one student’s solution.

Many students had no idea where to start with this problem. (NY means “Not Yet”.)

This student either thought, “Hey, this is decimal multiplication practice, so all I have to do is multiply the decimals.” Or they are thinking this is a volume problem. Others found the area of the floor then multiply by four to get the area of the walls.

They obviously didn’t comprehend what the problem was asking.

We spent nearly 20 minutes sharing “My Favorite Not Yets” where students presented their work under the document camera and we analyzed their thought process.  The class period turned into a reading lesson. We talked about context clues, what could be inferred from the problem, what do we already know, etc.

That afternoon during our team meeting our reading/literature teacher presented this reading strategy list to address reading informational text.

Next week, I’ll hand it out to students, model with a think aloud, then present them with a new problem.

On a side but related note, our team plans to use this with “fidelity” and monitor student progress using the informational text portion of the MAP reading test. We’re using the fall MAP as a baseline. Hopefully, their reading comprehension will improve.

3 thoughts on “They need to learn to read in math

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