Continuing with our series on problem solving skills, one of the most important keys to success in helping your child to solve math word problems is to help guide them in the process of reading and understanding the key words of the problem. When reading the question, you should help your child to focus on what the question is asking and looking for the key vocabulary.
They will not always see the words like add, subtract, or multiple in order to solve the problem. Words like altogether, total, and increased by all indicate addition. There are entire lists of words that can be used to help children to determine which type of operation the problem is asking them to do. There are also various words used in word problems that mean the word equals: for example, I, give and yields. Helping your child to learn these words is imperative to solving the problems. Here is an additional list of words that you child could use while they are completing practice problems at home to determine the operation that they should use to solve the problem. You could also turn these into flash cards for additional practice.
In order to reinforce these skills with your child, you can use worksheets to practice identifying the key words. Here is an entire workbook of math problems for 5th and 6th graders and here is the link for 4th grade to practice their skills from McGraw Hill. These worksheets tie in math with other subject areas, have single and multiple step problems, and provide practice for grade-level expectations. It would even be great for summer practice.
Using the keyword posters along with the practice problems will help to strengthen their problem solving skills.
In our next post on problem solving, look forward to games and apps to help your child practice their problem solving skills.
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