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A Study on Reading Comprehension of the Mathematical Word Problems for the Fourth Grade Students─Taking Integer Addition and Subtraction as an Example
mathematical word problems
Mathematics reading instruction is a produce derived from the necessity of reading instruction. Mathematics textbooks are essential for students to study mathematics. The mathematics textbooks published by local publishers take the question-oriented approach, which is to help students construct concepts through laying out situations and problem- solving strategies. Therefore, the writing topics are like the main shaft in mathematics textbooks. In order to solve a problem in their textbooks, students do not only have to be able to calculate but also be able to read the questions correctly, because the writings provide necessary clues to form equations. For this reason, a lot of students are frightened by mathematical word problems. A possible explanation is solving a writing topic involves “the computing power” and “the procedure to combine language understanding and mathematics concept”. The transformation from language coded mathematics to number coded mathematics causes difficulties in understanding mathematical word problems. This research uses the SFL theory to analyze mathematical word problems, examining language characteristics in mathematical word problems, exploring student understanding to different forms of topics. Therefore, the first part of the research consists a literature review which aims to classify mathematical word problems by the SFL theory. Then students are asked to solve different types of mathematical word problems. Students are then divided into three groups according to their scores, and two members of each group are selected for an interview to further analyze their understandings to the problems they have tried to solve previously. The researcher found that students are easily influenced by the interpersonal components in the problems and misunderstand them as “to add” or “to subtract” instead of understanding them as a process phrase. For example, students misunderstand the conjunction word, and, as to add. Nevertheless, most students are able to transform word topics into mathematical expression in the changing, merging and molding topics.
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