• Laura Busby, M.Ed.

Teaching Math Vocabulary

Updated: Jun 18

There is a massive assumption in math teaching, which stems from poor reading instruction, that is causing dyslexic students to struggle in math when they otherwise would not. This is the assumption that students understands what mathematical symbols mean.


The basics of math symbols are: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 + - =. We assume, as teachers and parents, that our kids know what each of these symbols represents. As the student progresses in math, we assume that as new symbols are introduced, the student understands what these symbols mean. This assumption is not only wrong; it is dangerous. For example, the other day, I was working with a bright student who, on a conceptual basis, does not have any math difficulties. However, she is struggling in math at school. She was given the problem and asked to state the number sentence in words. She had had ZERO clue as to what meant. She struggled with even < and >. On an even more simple basis, have you ever witnessed a student, or your child, add when they were supposed to subtract or vise versa? How about when a student can calculate 9+1 but is unable to do that problem vertically?

9

+1


We must teach students what each of the symbols used in math means as we teach the mathematical concepts. These symbols need to be taught in a very explicit, systematic, and multi-sensory manner. Think of this:

  1. Show the student the symbol, preferable color-coded

  2. State what that symbol means

  3. Have the student write that symbol and meaning in a math dictionary

Then, when they are working on a problem, have them touch and say the equation.


For the equation:

9 + 1= the student would say, “nine plus one is” or “nine plus one equals.”


For the equation:


6 ≤ x the student would say, “ six is less than or equal to x.”


The act of having the student touch and say the symbols will help them process what the symbols mean and a lot of confusion and errors can be avoided. But first, we need to explicitly teach what all these mathematical symbols mean so our students can process. Otherwise, we might as well be showing them written gibberish.

0 views

Our Mission

To educate and empower dyslexic students and their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dyslexia Pros Tempe

1 W Elliot Rd. Suite 111
Tempe, AZ 85284
‭(602) 920-4263‬

Dyslexia Pros Arcadia

3334 E. Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 920-4263

Dyslexia Pros Mesa

2160 E. Brown Rd. Suite 3
Mesa, AZ 85213
(480) 330-5291
5605 E River Road, Suite 215
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 833-2285

Dyslexia Pros Tucson

9360 E Raintree Dr. Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(602) 920-4263
  • Facebook Classic
  • Instagram App Icon

 

Contact Us    Dyslexia Tutoring    Dyslexia Testing    Career Opportunities    

 

Dyslexia Pros Tempe     Dyslexia Pros Phoenix     Dyslexia Pros Mesa    Dyslexia Pros Tucson   Client Policies

 

© Dyslexia Pros, LLC. All rights reserved. Dyslexia Pros Arizona, United States