The Benefits of Reading and Writing in Math Class

Math class is all about numbers and graphs. Usually, students don’t write much, and explaining how they came to a certain conclusion is probably the only exception. Nevertheless, reading and writing are very important learning tools so these activities can be beneficial even in math. 

Math students are not very motivated to write, that’s why they use sites like BetterWritingServices to find an essay writing service and outsource their writing assignments to other people. However, reading and writing are two interconnected fundamental skills that are crucial for learning, in general. Reading is somewhat similar to mathematics because this process consists of two stages: first, you should perceive the information that is encoded visually, and then you should comprehend it.

Writing is also a very powerful learning tool because when we write, both hemispheres of our brains are engaged. One hemisphere generates ideas for writing, while another hemisphere structures these ideas so that you can express them logically.

One of the main advantages of writing is that it requires you to organize your ideas. This is exactly what makes writing a valuable learning tool. Besides, writing is a slower process than speaking, which means that you have more time for reasoning and evaluation of your arguments. Therefore, you can come up with stronger arguments that are properly supported by the evidence. According to research, writing can be beneficial not only for learning, in general, but also for math classes, in particular. For instance, it turns out that students’ ability to explain concepts in the written format is directly related to their ability to comprehend and apply these concepts in practice.

Reading and Writing as Tools for Research and Learning

Mathematics, reading, and writing shouldn’t be separated because these types of activities can help educators create a complete learning experience and make studies more efficient. Hands-on math can build students’ interest and curiosity while also helping them develop the necessary knowledge so that they can write about the topic. The more students know about a certain subject, the better they comprehend it, and reading can help them learn more.

Students who learn math should combine practice with reading because it’s necessary for research, while writing can help students communicate and interpret mathematical concepts. Reading also teaches students to evaluate different sources of information and their trustworthiness. Mathematics requires you to use a number of process skills that have a lot in common with reading. Therefore, these skills can reinforce each other when trained together.

For example, both reading and math share such skills as communicating, predicting, cause and effect analysis, comparing and contrasting, inferring, etc. Educators who understand the connection between literacy processes and mathematics can take these similarities into account when developing instructions. Establishing a connection between reading and math is beneficial not only for learning math. To teach students reading effectively, it’s important not to limit this process to lessons dedicated specifically to reading but to put it in the relevant context. This way, students will be able to focus on reading content that delivers the most value.

It’s also hard to overestimate the positive impact of writing in math class. While writing, students not only learn to communicate their ideas but also clarify them and present them with respect to the context and details. Writing, in general, requires you to structure your thoughts, but academic writing has even more educational value. Academic writing requires students to create a clear logical structure and to present coherent conclusions.

Using Writing and Writing in Math Class

Writing prompts are most common in elementary and middle school classrooms. Usually, these prompts focus on general subjects, such as students’ preferences and dislikes, attitudes, feelings, and concerns related to math class. Reading activities revolve around autobiographies and journals, while writing is usually present in a form of freewriting or letters to a teacher. Such writing can focus on general metacognitive aspects, such as expectations, goals, and commitment, or on a specific concept that students learn at the moment.

Teachers may try to adapt this sort of prompts to the needs of high school students, as well, but it can be a difficult task, and a more effective approach might be to use reading and writing to illustrate the application of math in all spheres of our lives. Thanks to reading and writing, students can develop a quantitative understanding of reality by simply reflecting on their everyday lives from the mathematical perspective.

If students are curious enough, it can be easy to motivate them and engage them to write and expand their vocabulary. While learning mathematical concepts, students can also improve their language skills. Educators just need to integrate reading and writing into math classes as regular parts of the educational process. To make these activities more valuable, students can read books on mathematics and write papers on various subjects that they study. This way, they will reinforce their knowledge during the writing process.

Another approach is to ask students to write their mathematics journals where they can document their experiences in problem-solving and formulate their opinions about issues related to mathematics. Mathematic teachers can help their students learn math faster and more effectively by encouraging brainstorming and discussions. Students can answer relevant questions in the written form, providing analogies and supporting their opinions with quotes from sources that they’ve read. It’s also important to encourage students to develop their vocabulary.

There is also a difference between writing about mathematics and mathematical writing. When writing about mathematics, students mostly focus on literacy, while mathematical writing prioritizes mathematical reasoning. Mathematical writing also isn’t limited to regular text — it may also feature mathematical symbols and formulas, along with visual components, such as charts and graphs. Mathematical writing can be applied in different contexts. For example, students may write argumentative, exploratory, and informative papers. It’s also possible to combine mathematical and creative writing.

Wrapping Up

Although the connection between such skills as reading or writing and math may not be obvious, educators shouldn’t forget about the benefits of writing and reading for learning, in general. Both writing and reading are extremely useful cognitive exercises. Moreover, math teachers can incorporate reading and writing activities in math classes, encouraging students to learn mathematical writing as an approach that they’ll be able to use in their academic careers.

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