23 Strategies to Help Students Who Have Trouble Solving Word Problems

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 learner’s difficulty solving math word problems.

2. Get the learner 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 learner clues or keywords to look for in word problems that indicate mathematical operations.

5. Get the learner 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 learner with an appropriate quantity of real or play money).

7. Get the learner to write a number sentence after reading a math word problem. (This process will help the learner see the mathematical relationship prior to discovering the answer.)

8. Get the learner to create word problems for number sentences. Put the number sentences on the smartboard and have the learner tell or write word problems that could be solved by the number sentence.

9. Get the learner to repeat math word problems in their own words.

10. Ask the learner 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 learner knows that questions are often implied rather than directly asked.

11. Get the learner 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 learner.

13. Utilize word problems that are related to the learner’s experiences and are of interest to him/her.

14. Make sure the learner reads through the entire word problem before trying to solve it.

15. Teach the learner to break down each word problem into specific steps.

16. Get the learner to make notes to set the word problem up in written form as they read it.

17. Get the learner to simulate situations that relate to math word problems (e.g., trading, selling, buying, etc.).

18. Get the learner to solve word problems by manipulating objects and by stating the process(es) used.

19. Assist the learner 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 learner 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:

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