Connecting Reading and Math Literacy in the Elementary Classroom

Educational Publishing Hall of Fame member Marilyn Burns, Founder of Math Solutions, has dedicated her career to providing exemplary professional development to math teachers and helping them increase student achievement. In a new opinion piece for Education Week, Burns talks about the disparate views elementary educators have between teaching reading and mathematics and how they often approach the latter with trepidation. She argues that despite obvious differences, there are numerous similarities between reading and math and that by applying lessons from teaching reading to math, educators can become more enthusiastic and effective math teachers.

“But, just as I know that children learn best when they connect new learning onto their existing knowledge and skills, the same holds true for teachers. How can we connect literacy and math, so that teachers bring the strengths they have with language arts instruction to their math teaching? How can teachers make links between mathematics and language arts pedagogy that will enable them to engage children with math in the same way they bring children to the wonder of reading?

One way is for teachers to think about leading classroom discussions in mathematics as they often do when teaching language arts. Probing students’ thinking during math lessons is valuable, so that the goal is not only getting correct answers, but also explaining why answers make sense.”

Read the article, “To Teach Math, Study Reading Instruction,” by Marilyn Burns at Education Week.