The majority of students had little or no word problem experience. As the math and english departments were talking at the end of the year we had come to the conclusion that reading comprehension was playing a hugh role in their lack of success in math. On page 22, Laney has a chart that shows the similarities of characteristics that good readers and good mathematicians possess. I saw this clearly demonstrated first hand this year in my two math classes. As I spoke with the 4th grade English teacher, most students who struggled with reading comprehension also struggled with mathematical comprehension.
Laney goes through and explains which comprehension strategies come into play before, during, and after problem solving tasks. As I began reflecting on my own problem solving procedures, I realized I was applying the same strategies in problem solving tasks that I do when I read. It had never occurred to me that I was using the same strategies for both tasks.
Another point Laney made in this chapter is that sometimes when we introduce strategies, we assume students will pick up the why and when the strategy should be used. Before modeling of the strategy begins, students need to be taught the what, why, and when of the strategy. This is why explicit instruction in strategies is so important. On page 31, she reviews the six steps of explicit instruction which includes scaffolding and the gradual release of responsibility to the students. This builds their confidence, so they are able to take ownership of these strategies.
The chapter ends with a framework for planning and teaching strategies which includes points or questions to consider as you move through the explicit teaching process. I like how she broke each phase down into instructional focus and student focus. I definitely plan on referring back to this section next year before and after teaching the strategies for planning and reflection purposes.
I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and join the blog book study fun this summer! I can't wait to read the rest of this book! Make sure to link up with Thinking of Teaching or Primary Inspired to share your thoughts on Chapter 1!