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Topic: math and reading
Replies: 7   Last Post: Jan 31, 2003 11:58 AM

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Mark Schwartz

Posts: 48
Registered: 12/6/04
math and reading
Posted: Jan 27, 2003 9:12 PM
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Hi All,
The discussions posted about reading and math leave me curious about
treating math as if it weren't reading. I talk to students about not only
reading the text, reading the examples, reading the index or the answers in
the back of the book, but also about reading the problem. At my institution
those in need of "basic" math also are likely to be in need of improving
their reading skills so I realize that I might be dealing with
circumstances that are not math issues, but reading issues. But, as I
approach the content and splash problems on the board, I am continually
asking them "what is this problem asking you to do?" I ask students to read
the problem before they lift their pencil. Reading it means to verbalize
(to oneself or outloud) that -2 - (+4) means (something like) "starting
with zero, I'm to subtract two positives and then subtract 4 positives" or
"take 4 positives from two negatives". In doing this, I hope to make them
comfortable with the idea that math isn't just pushing numbers around on a
piece of paper but rather it's something that one thinks about. And,
although there may be thought without words, in this case I want their math
efforts to be numbers with thoughts and words ... later ... mark

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