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Supporting Students' Mathematical Inquiries Through Reading

Marjorie Siegal, Raffaella Borasi, Judith Fonzi 

July 1998, Volume 29, Issue 4, Page 378

The purpose of this article is to identify specific functions that reading, in combination with writing and talking, can serve in mathematical inquiries and thus to contribute to a better understanding of how inquiry experiences can be planned and supported in mathematics classrooms. This purpose is achieved through an analysis of 3 classroom experiences in which secondary mathematics students engaged in "inquiry cycles" on quite different topics. These instructional experiences were developed by a collaborative team of mathematics teachers, mathematics education researchers, and a reading researcher in the context of action research and teacher research. Analysis of the data led to the identification of 30 functions of reading that are specific to distinct elements of an inquiry cycle. On the basis of these findings we suggest that reading can serve multiple roles in inquiry-based mathematics classes and, in doing so, can afford students unique opportunities for learning mathematics.

Action Research
Assessment / Testing
Conceptual Development
Interactives / Applets
Higher Education
Grades 9-12
Math Coordinator / Coach
Numbers and Operations
Professional Development / Teacher Education