Math 3-6

Math Communication

Factor Connections

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How Math Communication connects to...

Language and literacy skills support many aspects of math problem solving. Additionally, students need advanced language skills to understand and communicate about math in classroom discussions. Students with stronger language skills are more likely to experience better math outcomes.

Main Ideas

Many of the language skills that are critical for early reading, writing, and math continue to be important for math success in later grades. These include Vocabulary, Phonological Processing, and Verbal Reasoning, which support a variety of math outcomes.

  • Vocabulary words that are less frequent, including those specific to math, and complex Syntax can pose challenges, particularly when solving word problems, for students with weaker language skills, such as those who are English language learners or from lower SES backgrounds.
  • Phonological Processing, being able to quickly understand sounds in spoken and written words, underlies the ability to work with math components that are stored in verbal memory, such as during Counting and Arithmetic Fact Retrieval.
  • Verbal Reasoning includes the ability to draw inferences and supports students' ability to solve multi-step problems, such as fraction operations.

Additionally, as students get older, they must be able to use discussion skills to engage with peers and teachers to explain how they solved a problem and comment on other methods. These skills also include justifying their approach and asking questions of their peers. Math Learning Environments that encourage this type of Math Communication improve students' math learning across student populations, encouraging equity and positive student Emotions.

Visit the literacy model to explore many of these language-related Factors.

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