Are you looking for strategies to help students who have trouble solving word problems? If so, keep reading.
1. Make sure that it is not a failure to read that is the cause of the student’s difficulty solving math word problems.
2. Get the student to read the word problem silently and then aloud. Get them to find the mathematical operation required.
3. Give short and concise word problems that require a one-step process.
4. Teach the student clues or keywords to look for in word problems that indicate mathematical operations.
5. Get the student to orally analyze the steps that are required to solve word problems (e.g., “What is given?” “What is asked?” “What operation(s) is used?” etc.).
6. Represent the numerical amounts presented in the word problems in concrete forms (e.g., problems involving money can be represented by providing the student with an appropriate quantity of real or play money).
7. Get the student to write a number sentence after reading a math word problem. (This process will help the student see the mathematical relationship prior to discovering the answer.)
8. Get the student to create word problems for number sentences. Put the number sentences on the smartboard and have the student tell or write word problems that could be solved by the number sentence.
9. Get the student to repeat math word problems in their own words.
10. Ask the student to find the primary question that must be answered to solve a given word problem. Continue this learning experience using more complicated word problems containing two or more questions. Make sure the student knows that questions are often implied rather than directly asked.
11. Get the student to write word problems involving specific operations. Get other students in the classroom to solve these problems.
12. Supplement textbook problems with teacher-made problems that deal with classroom experiences and include students’ names to make them more realistic and essential to the student.
13. Utilize word problems that are related to the student’s experiences and are of interest to him/her.
14. Make sure the student reads through the entire word problem before trying to solve it.
15. Teach the student to break down each word problem into specific steps.
16. Get the student to make notes to set the word problem up in written form as they read it.
17. Get the student to simulate situations that relate to math word problems (e.g., trading, selling, buying, etc.).
18. Get the student to solve word problems by manipulating objects and by stating the process(es) used.
19. Assist the student in recognizing common patterns in word problems (e.g., how many, add or subtract, etc.).
20. Talk about words and phrases that usually indicate an addition operation (e.g., together, all together, sum, in all, both, gained, received, total, won, saved, etc.). Give the student a list of those words and phrases.
21. Consider using Alexa for the Math Classroom.
22. Try gamifying your math lessons.
23. Consider using one of the apps and tools from our many math app lists: