Strategy: Word Problems

Active Reading is a strategy to help you focus your attention on what you read and to help you understand what you read. In order to do that, you need to need to engage with what you read. Math word problems are challenging, because they contain information that has to be translated into mathematical formulas and operations. Here is an Active Reading strategy to use when you have to solve word problems.

The Process

  1. Read the problem, and then read it again.
  2. What is the problem about? Summarize the problem.
  3. Draw a picture of the problem to help you understand what you need to do to solve it.
  4. empty box for drawing picture of problem

  5. What information do you know? Write that information down.
  6. What information do you need to find? Write that down.
  7. What equation or formula uses this information?
  8. What tools will help you solve the equation or formula? (Example: A table to organize the information?)
  9. Does the answer match the picture you drew? Check the answer.

Handout: Active Reading of Math Word Problems [pdf]