Are Math and Reading Intertwined?

book with school suppliesBy Elaine Sigal

A parent calls me to discuss his child’s grades since the child is not doing well in math and the parent does not know why. I ask if the child has any reading issues or if the child has ever been tested for a reading disability. The parent is quite confused and reiterates that he is calling about his child’s math grade. Am I confused?

No, I am not confused. Parents today do not realize how much a math grade is dependent on reading skills. A large percentage of math questions are not just math problems, but are word problems. A student might be able to do the arithmetic but gets the problem wrong because she misreads the question. Reading is critical to math. If your child is having trouble in math, it could be poor computational skills or it could be that she does not understand the mathematical concepts. It also could be a reading issue.

When was the last time that you had your child read aloud to you? If it has been more than a month, it is too long. Ask children of all ages to read you an article from a magazine, a newspaper or a book. Listen to the reading. Is your child a fluent reader? Does he know what he is reading or is he just reading the words. Does he read in a halting manner? Is he a slow reader? Listen. If you do not love what you hear, run don’t walk to find a professional to have your child’s reading tested.


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