Date of Award

6-2004

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (to 2007)

First Advisor

Lauren Freedman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tabitha Mingus, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Karen Thomas, Ph.D.

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This research involves studying the effectiveness of teaching literacy strategies to students in a secondary mathematics classroom in southern, Michigan. The purpose of the study is to determine if instruction and practice of literacy strategies (i.e. know-want to know-learn, think-aloud, vocabulary, graphic organizers, similarity and difference activities, and question-answer-relationships) will benefit students by improving their comprehension of mathematics as well as their achievement in solving non-routine mathematical problems. The use of surveys, open-ended response questions, observations, quiz and test data, and participant feedback were essential to the methodology of this study.

The findings of this study reveal that while many students have limited explicit knowledge of literacy strategies at the high school level, they find a variety of benefits in their use. Students report that literacy strategies are useful for summarizing and organizing information, reading comprehension, and studying. There are benefits to the Math teachers, also. Implementing literacy strategies into classroom instruction is a way of reaching the different learning styles that are present, as well as encouraging teacher creativity and effective planning. Embedding instruction and use of literacy strategies takes time and should be done throughout the school year. With careful implementation, literacy strategies can improve mathematical understanding.

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