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NSW Department of Education and Communities

Curriculum support for NSW Public Schools

Literacy in mathematics

Successful students in mathematics need to demonstrate a variety of literacy skills in order to develop and convey their knowledge, skills and understandings of mathematics. The following provides a range of practical ways of addressing the literacy learning needs of students in mathematics.

Newman's prompts Newman's prompts

1. Reading the problem
2. Comprehending what is read
3. Carrying out a transformation from the words of the problem to the selection of an appropriate mathematical strategy
4. Applying the process skills demanded by the selected strategy
5. Encoding the answer in an acceptable written form

               Newman's prompts Addressing reading

Some strategies to address reading in the mathematics classroom.

        Newman's prompts Addressing comprehension

Some strategies to address comprehension in the mathematics classroom.

             Newman's prompts Addressing transformation

Some strategies to address transformation in the mathematics classroom.

             Newman's prompts Teaching literacy in mathematics in Year 7

This book highlights the explicit and systematic teaching of the literacy demands of mathematics so that the teaching of content is not impeded by students' lack of ability to read and write appropriately or to use mathematical language. It includes:

  • the literacy demands of mathematics
  • the continuum of literacy development
  • assessment, planning and programming for explicit teaching
  • units of work on number, fractions and geometry
  • planning a whole-school approach to literacy
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