Mind the gap between the students and their mathematical textbooks

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Reading and comprehending mathematics textbooks means understanding the global meaning and for this to occur successful comprehension strategies are required. Drawing on the results of a pilot study with six grade 3 students, a relationship between the students’ reading skills and their mathematical skills appeared. Toexamine this relationship further eighteen students from grades 1, 4 and 7, with different achievement levels were interviewed in this study. Both in the pilot study andin the current study the interview questions were inspired by the comprehensionstrategies of prediction, clarification, questioning and summarization from Palincsar and Brown’s reciprocal teaching model. These strategies are connected to Halliday’s Systemic functional linguistics to better understand how the textbook context affects students’ use of comprehension strategies. The results show that all students had developed reading comprehension strategies that were more or less successful, starting already from grade 1. Furthermore, the results of this study highlight that all students, independent of their achievement level or grade, require explicit teaching concerning efficient comprehension strategies to grasp the mathematical content being presented in mathematics textbooks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-138
Number of pages23
JournalNordisk matematikkdidaktikk, NOMAD[Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education]
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Educational Sciences (503)


  • Systemic Functional Linguistics
  • mathematics textbooks
  • primary students
  • reading comprehension strategies
  • reciprocal teaching model


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