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math and reading
Posted:
Jan 27, 2003 9:12 PM


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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