Reading and mathematicsPosted: February 12, 2020
Those of you who are familiar with the writing of Enid Blyton, may be familiar with her Enchanted Wood series which features the folk of the Faraway Tree. One of the characters in this delightfully imaginative series is Dame Snap, a strict school mistress, who runs a school for naughty pixies and other fairy folk. I loved this series as a child and was quite astonished by the questions Dame Snap poses to the learners in her class. This is an extract from The Enchanted Wood:
“Jo looked at the questions on the board. He read them out to the others, in great astonishment.
“If you take away three three caterpillars from one bush, how many gooseberries will there be left?”
“Add a pint of milk to a peck of peas and say what will be left over.”
“If a train runs at six miles an hour and has to pass under four tunnels, put down what the guard’s mother is likely to have for dinner on Sundays.”
Everybody gazed at the board in despair. Whatever did the questions mean? They seemed to be nonsense.”
Dame Snap from The Enchanted Wood
This particular extract came to mind the other day when I was assisting my younger son with his mathematics homework. He had ten sentences to complete, all of which were missing certain vital words to form a well-known mathematics concept. I thought this was quite a difficult way for a mathematics concept to be enforced and tested and it made me realise how important good reading and comprehension skills are to performing well in all school subjects, including mathematics.
As learners progress through the school system, the need to assemble, analyse and interpret data in order to present a view or outcome about a specific problem, increases significantly. In order to do this, the learner must frequently read and understand a mass of research material and extract the salient points for further analysis.
A big component of testing mathematical concepts involves solving word problems, which were called story sums when I was at school. A word problem is a few sentences describing a ‘real-life’ scenario where a problem needs to be solved by way of a mathematical calculation. These sentences are often complex and if a learner does not have well developed reading and comprehension skills, he or she will struggle to determine what they need to do to solve the problem and arrive at the correct answer.
Studies have been done to determine the correlation between good reading comprehension and mathematical word problem skills. The results showed that good performance with mathematical word problems is strongly related to effective reading comprehension. The results indicated that this is because reading comprehension and problem solving both require superior reasoning skills.
Reading understanding and comprehension is increased through exposure to the written word as a result of parents or other caregivers reading to children and later, by children reading on their own.
In summary, children who are read to and who are encouraged to read, generally perform better in all of their school subjects including mathematics which does not merely constitute manipulating figures on a page, but involves comprehension and assimilation of written data.
About Robbie Cheadle
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.
I have participated in a number of anthologies:
- Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
- Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
- Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
- Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.
I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
Find Robbie Cheadle
Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads
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Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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