Getting to Grips with Word Problems  Getting to Grips with Word Problems


Maths is a compulsory curriculum subject at all key stages and yet many pupils struggle with maths, particularly when calculations are presented as written problems.

The author has set out to provide a structured approach to help such pupils by checking the understanding of the underlying concept and then tackling the actual word problem. He is well aware of the importance of early success so that confidence is high for future learning and the book starts with some easier examples in the four rules of number. The book is divided into seven sections on decimals, percentages, fractions, money, measurement, averages and mean, median, mode and range.

The final resource section contains a number of useful templates so that teachers can make additional sheets for those pupils who require more examples at a particular level in any one area.

The author has set out pages clearly to provide easy access, provided a step by step approach to support understanding and offered several activities in each section. I really like the way the book is set out; the clear print, the use of boxes, lots of space around the boxes and visual prompts to aid understanding and access. It is age appropriate and attractive and accessible to the target audience.

This book would be very useful with pupils who are learning these areas of maths for the first time at Key Stage 2 and also for those pupils in Key Stage 3, who are struggling with word problems and with understanding the underlying concepts in these areas of maths.

Reviewed by Jill McMinn, Advisory Teacher, Speech, Language and Communication Needs, in Afasic News Spring/Summer 09

12.95 (Free Postage)



Reviewed in Special Needs Information Press (SNIP)


Many children may be able to cope in maths providing the questions are set out for them in a familiar fashion, but struggle when faced with contextual questions. Maths vocabulary can be viewed as a second language and fluency is a vital requirement to attempt word questions. This books sets out to help pupils address the problems associated with both understanding concept and tackling word problems.


Getting to Grips with Word Problems follows the step by step approach of the successful Word Problems: The Language of Mathematics (Ewing & Ward, 2001). This book starts with general maths involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Pupils are given a problem and are invited to decide what they have to find, which sign to use, their estimated answer, before calculating the outcome. This is an easy section which not only trains the pupil to think carefully about the way in which the problem can be attacked but will also promote success and confidence before moving on to more challenging chapters.


The following chapters have a similar format. They begin with a 'Getting to Grips with' section which helps to explain the concepts involved in a structured and cumulative manner, as well as giving some practice. The later 'Solve it' pages provide the contextual questions for pupils to work through as previously explained. These later chapters deal with such concepts as decimals, percentages, fractions, money, averages and measurements - topics which pupils of all abilities may struggle with from time to time.


The book is set with pages which are not at all busy or cluttered. Illustrations are clear and practical, particularly those associated with number lines, fractions and decimals. This is a very useful book to help pupils who are either dealing with these concepts for the first time or are experiencing problems in these areas. It would be ideal to support KS2 or KS3 pupils.

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