# Children not reading operation properly

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by elythgoe, Dec 6, 2011.

1. ### elythgoe

I am working with a child who is struggling with answering a list of questions which require him to doing different operations. For examle some multiplication, some division, etc. He is confident with the questions are all multiplication or all division but when given a list he just gets confused. Is there anything I can do to help, other then encouraging to read questions more carefully and taking more time over it?

2. ### elythgoe

I am working with a child who is struggling with answering a list of questions which require him to doing different operations. For examle some multiplication, some division, etc. He is confident with the questions are all multiplication or all division but when given a list he just gets confused. Is there anything I can do to help, other then encouraging to read questions more carefully and taking more time over it?

3. ### DeborahCarolNew commenter

You're doing the right things. Some children do simply need to be told (over and over) to read questions more carefully.
I sometimes have mine read them aloud, but 'silently', ie moving their lips only, which increases the chances of their not missing key words/operations.

4. ### manxli

Hi
I'm not a maths teacher as such (teach SEN language / ICT) and am just lurking around in here.
However, I think you've hit on an important point. How can kids do general maths if they can't interpret the questions efficiently? I'm interested in poor literacy myself and my contacts in Australia and Sweden have something to say about maths following on from this standpoint.
See - http://readingtolearn.com.au/images/pdf/October/r2l%20maths%20report.pdf for a specific report on maths. Also - http://readingtolearn.com.au/
See my site for general info from the literacy angle - http://manxman.ch/moodle2/course/view.php?id=4
Are you familiar with the "maths story" approach pushed by the now defunct Teacher's TV? I think we might forget that maths is also a system of "making meaning" just as communicative language is. The same problems which kids face with reading might also pop up in maths.
Regards

5. ### FGTO

Might be worth getting him to highlight different operations in different colours before trying to answer any Qs.

6. ### manxli

That sounds like a great idea to me and parallels what I've done with some success in written literacy. I'd say it's certainly worth a try in the classroom.

7. ### FGTO

Thanks for the feedback.
It worked for me when teaching ICT when I got them to highlight problem scenarios in different colours:
• the parts that were giving them background or contexual info
• the parts that were giving instructions
• the parts that were asking them to do something etc.

8. ### manxli

Hello again
I was rather intrigued to look at this from the literacy standpoint. This link to a pdf paper relating the two areas might be of interest and especially page 3. It illustrates a primary level worksheet where the verbal/textual operation is alongside the mathematical signed operation. Sorry the link is so long.
Regards

9. ### arsinhNew commenter

As lead learners, you should be cognitive of the potential damage to the self-esteem of your colour-blind children.

10. ### AnonymousNew commenter

"What type of question is this?"
"Subtraction"
"Why?"
"Is it multiplication, division, add?"
Then you get them adding up all the numbers in the question because they know they will get an answer.
Fun and games - How do you get children to recognise what type of operation to do? I'm a big believer in visualising a problem. Draw pictures if need be. Just prompts them in the right direction.

11. ### manxli

Colour blind?
Oh come on. I'm colour blind myself and I can't expect the world to change for me. However, the teacher MUST be aware of this and differentiate. Squiggly lines, straight lines, dotted lines????
What's the problem?
Pictures are good. See previous link.

12. ### manxli

Sorry didn't mean to be abrupt. It's a good point which should be considered.

13. ### arsinhNew commenter

That was like shooting fish in a barrel.

14. ### manxli

two heads think better than one )