READING IN MATHS
At Lawley, we recognise the importance of reading in mathematics. It is integral that our pupils are not only able to say the words in a mathematical problem but interpret them and reason with them. Therefore, we strive for our pupils to read for understanding in maths lessons and engage meaningfully with mathematics text.
Mathematical texts however can provide difficulties. They are written in a very compact style; each sentence contains a lot of information. They include words as well as symbols that need to be interpreted. Graphics must be understood, and often layout is unconventional. In addition, many words in a mathematical texts carry a different meaning, ‘mean’ for example, relates to an average in maths and not how someone is acting.
To support children’s reading in mathematics, we complete a ‘Guided reading’ session once a week where we focus specifically on the reading skills and strategies required for mathematical texts. This session highlights vocabulary, which is added to working walls and teachers model their ‘thinking out loud’ as they read and figure out what a problem is asking them to do. Class discussion is had about any difficulties the children have in understanding the problem and we implement known reading strategies, such as scanning and summarising to share our thoughts. The focus of this session is not on finding the answer but exploring ‘how’ we find the answer, like what operations are needed and what calculations are required in order to answer the question. Within these sessions, children learn to communicate thoughts clearly, to explore how to organise their ideas and develop flexibility in representing and interpreting them. By focussing specifically on reading in maths, children begin to see mathematics as a life subject, with connections across the curriculum.