Captive Reading Ideas – Math problems

Using maths to foster reading skills in a young reader might sound paradoxical. However, maths problems do involve reading a text. And the bonus is that your child might think you are quizzing them on numbers when in fact you are surreptitiously getting them to read! What crafty parents we are! 😉

My eldest daughter has recently started to learn additions, so I seized the idea and started with simple questions all written in letters; for instance: “What do one plus one make?”. She loved the novelty and quizzing on something she had recently learned in class.

After several of these questions, I got curious about her handling subtracting. So I left her the following question (this time with numbers as I felt she had enough on her plate with subtracting!): “If you have 5 sweets and you give me 1, how many sweets do you have left?” She read the message alright but got her guess wrong.
This was the opportunity to show her how to subtract using her hands. I had her count 5 fingers for the 5 sweets and fold back 1 for the given sweet. She hooked to the technique straight away. She loved it even more when I pretended to eat 2 sweets (fingers) on the following subtraction problem I gave her. It made her giggle silly; and as you know kids learn best when they have fun. 😉

This kind of captive reading is great as not only they use their literacy skills but also their numeracy ones. And best of all: you can invent loads of different maths problems involving them and sweets, children, vehicles, animals of all sorts…. Let your imagination run loose, the sky is your limit!

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