The entrance door to understand a mathematical problem: reading the text

Silvia Demartini and Silvia Sbaragli
Dipartimento formazione e apprendimento – SUPSI di Locarno, Svizzera

Download the article (in Italian)    DOI: 10.33683/ddm.18.5.1

Abstract / This paper presents some reflections on the role of reading conceived as the first and inevitable “entrance door” to understand a mathematical word problem, with the aim of solving it. We start from an analysis of the different phases required to solve a problem, shown by the research in Mathematics Education, and then we focus on what it means to read and comprehend a text; afterwards, we illustrate the different types of reading depending on the type and the purposes of a text. Particular attention is given to the role of intensive reading in understanding the text of a mathematical problem, and some possible didactic practices are shortly described to help teachers to improve this reading strategy at school. We conclude the article by stressing the importance of “taking the time”: time for teachers to propose interactive didactic paths focused on understanding and discussing texts, and time for pupils to read, question and evaluate texts in depth. This practice will lead students to discover through experience how a better reading can have a positive impact on problem solving.

Keywords: mathematics; Italian language; problem solving; reading; understanding.

Published in DdM 2019(5)


Cite as: Demartini, S., & Sbaragli, S. (2019). La porta di entrata per la comprensione di un problema: la lettura del testo. Didattica della matematica. Dalla ricerca alle pratiche d’aula, 5, 9-43. DOI: 10.33683/ddm.18.5.1