Instructional and Environmental Strategies for All Learners - Challenges with Understanding/Comprehension (Updated July 2020)
Challenges with Understanding/Comprehension
- Explicitly Teach the meaning of key vocabulary words.
- Provide an example of a correctly solved problem at the beginning of the lesson.
- Provide visual cues to help students who may have difficulty visualizing shapes, dimensions and sizes.
- Have students verbally or visually explain how to solve a math problem.
- Provide students with a strategy to use for solving word problems.
- Introduce only one concept at a time and teach to mastery.
- Provide many practice opportunities and include problem solving, reasoning, and real-life application to help with transfer of information.
- Have students "talk aloud" as they complete problems.
- Model and teach metacognitive strategies (Model and verbalize problem solving strategy, guide students through verbalization of problem solving, monitor student verbalizations as they describe problem solving strategy).
- Use cooperative learning techniques such as "jigsaw" or "think-pair-share".
- Teach in small chunks so students get lots of practice with one step at a time.
- Provide learning aids such as calculators to help students focus on conceptual understanding.
- Use estimation throughout the day and have students estimate a reasonable solution prior to starting any computation.
- Teach facts in families.
- Demonstrate all concepts with manipulatives.
Additional Links and Resources:
- Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative Assistive Technology
- Math Learning Disabilities (LD Online)
- Consequences, Characteristics, and Causes of Mathematical Learning Disabilities and Persistent Low Achievement in Mathematics (National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI)
- What is Dyscalculia? (Attitude: Inside the ADHD mind)
- Intensive Intervention (National Center on Intensive Intervention, NCII)
- Virginia’s Guidelines for Education Students with Specific Learning Disabilities (Math strategies are available starting on page 23.)
- The Concrete-Representational-Abstract Approach for Mathematics Instruction (CRA)
- Page 3: Evidence-Based Mathematics Practices (IRIS Center) The Iris Center is a great resource for evidence-based math strategies for students with mathematics difficulties, such as schema instruction, explicit instruction, and using multiple representations.