Book Study Instructions

We are currently reading "From Reading to Math" by Maggie Siena.

Please answer the questions below for each chapter by adding a comment. Contribute to the discussion by replying to at least 2 other comments. Please don't forget to reference page and paragraph numbers so we can all follow along!

Schedule for posting:
February: Read and discuss chapters three and four.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chapter 3, Question 1

Think of a math unit you teach. How could you use the comprehension strategies discussed in this chapter to learn the content of that unit?


  1. When I read pg. 31 about tapping into prior knowledge it made me think of when we discussed the times for the marathon winners. Students were able to understand that "faster" really meant lower numbers and they saw the value of how decimals really make a difference when calculating time.

  2. Using prior knowledge is the essential key for figuring out the puzzle piece. On page 31-33, I liked the way it broke down the seven comprehension strategies that can be used to help learners make sense of math. If you don't understand the term meaning than the content won't be mastered. If these strategies are incorporated as in reading with real life connections then it should help the students gain math strategies.

  3. The unit that comes to mind for me is basic division. Since the students are working on memorization of multiplication facts as we begin this unit, they tend to quickly use the facts they have learned to solve the division problems. When I compare this to her connections on pages 36-38, it jumps out at me that they are overusing the math-math connection (fact families), and carefully avoiding any math-self or math -world connections. These would lead them to a concrete understanding of what dividing equally really is. I will definately do more dividing in the real world next year, before I ever give them a chance to see the problem written out. Once they see it on the board, it becomes a multiplication fact in reverse.

    1. I love the way the book helps us to make connections with comprehension strategies that we know are tried and true. I had really never thought how effectivley they could be used in a math context.

  4. I agree with you Susan. I do believe is is critical to make the real life connections for math to be meaningful and gain an understanding of concepts being taught.

  5. Double Digit Word Problems and Asking Questions.
    I teach them double digit addition and subtraction with manipulatives,then drawing and finally the algorithm. However to a few (significant in the testing world) understanding whether to add or subtract is a bigger problem. Unlike the thousands of books I own which give you questions to ask in virtually any literary conundrum, I do not have any such list to help me in math. I would love to ask better questions. I feel I can extend but in evaluating I find myself saying repeatedly, "When did it last make sense to you?" I am going to read the book they suggest. It is only in understanding their thinking can I do something thoughtful to help.

  6. @ Susan...
    Concrete is so primary so I know it tends to slip away from the 3-5 teachers. I too have the problem of them knowing facts but not the concept. It is when the problems move away from algorithms to word problems and ultimately problem-solving does their lack of understanding become clear. Relevance is so important.

  7. Applying math to real life situations always is beneficial. Comprehension of the vocabulary is key though, if they don't understand what it means they won't be able to apply that knowledge. Most of my students can do the computation but when they have to read a problem and use their knowledge of problem solving it almost always trips them up.

  8. This chapter offers very powerful strategies for helping students solve word problems, especially the Questioning in Math Section on pages 38-43. I can see how being mindful in modeling questions and asking open ended questions, can move students to taking their understanding deeper and can make it more likely for them to use it in new situations. The examples of the types of questions to ask for getting started, getting unstuck, checking work, and going deeper are things that can easily be put into place. It just seems like it could be a good place to start.