Math Education Concepts

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Reading and Writing in Mathematics


Incorporating reading and writing assignments in the mathematics curriculum has many benefits.  The primary benefit is learning mathematics content more deeply.  Reading and writing in mathematics becomes most beneficial when students are encouraged to think deeply and reason through what they read and write.  The assignments chosen by the teacher must be substantive.  Writing a paper about a mathematician or historical event in mathematics is great, but will not increase the level of understanding the way writing about mathematical concepts will.  Teachers must think critically about activities when incorporating reading and writing into their lessons.

Reading books about mathematical concepts can increase student interest in and understanding of a specific topic.  Instructing students to write about what they read can help assess the students’ understanding of the content.  Encouraging students to compare thoughts and notes about what they read and write can help foster communication about mathematical concepts. 

All educators can agree that reading and writing are very important activities and skills in education.  Reading and writing in mathematics can help students build mathematics communication skills and understand content deeply.  Keep in mind, it is not the act of reading and writing alone, but the skills developed and utilized that increases learning in mathematics.

How do you incorporate reading and writing in your mathematics curriculum?

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Author: Math Education Concepts

I am a Co-founder of and Program Coordinator for Math Corps Philadelphia, a combined academic enrichment and mentoring program. I am the author of "Teacher Training Manual: Designed for Secondary Mathematics Teachers of African American Urban Students." I hold a Master of Education degree in Secondary Mathematics and have several years of experience teaching secondary and post-secondary mathematics.

4 thoughts on “Reading and Writing in Mathematics

  1. Stories. How isolating the variable is like wanting to be alone with your girl. How irrationals should behave in mixed company, imagine what it’s like to be an imaginary number…
    A great book: Mathematics, a Human Endeavor.


  2. This is an exponentially important blog. I am sick and tired of the useless tug of war between math and literature. Indeed the mantra of Authoring Action, my teen authors’ org is “She and He who Read the Most and Write the Most get the best of everything. But, more, language is language and concepts and postulates are siblings who get along so well … twins.


    • Yes, I believe reading and writing help students understand mathematical concepts. Communication, in any form, is important. I really appreciate when your students express their feelings about math in spoken word (which is usually written first).


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