The 3 Steps to Develop Math Language

“Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.” 

William Paul Thurston

Recently Marcia Mann reminded me about how language develops, where struggling students face challenges and how we can intervene to prevent and correct vocabulary challenges in a child’s development. This includes math language. 

If we look at language development in children, it begins with their interaction with concrete objects.



Then moves to a more abstract level. In this case semi-abstract,  easily recognized pictures of the objects.



Then it moves to oral expression -  words that represent the object.

Knowing this makes for perfect integration into a structured, multisensory approach for math instruction.  We use VAKT instruction to integrate math concepts and the 3 levels of language development beginning with built in movement, verbal expression and solid concrete items.


Then connecting pictures and drawings of the concrete items.


And finally connecting both concrete items, verbal expression, pictures and drawings to abstract numbers.

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