4 Steps to Integrate Math and Reading (and other subjects too!)

Integrate Math and Reading

Do you struggle to incorporate important reading skills in all of your subject areas? Do you struggle with how to Integrate math AND reading?  Integrating math, science, and social studies with reading is such a powerful way to help your students to see connections across content areas. 

Math is such an important part of our lives, and I think that it is essential that we are teaching these concepts to our students in an engaging way. I have found that by using these math close reading passages, my students are better able to make connections across the curriculum.  Not only are they gaining important reading skills, but they are also gaining confidence in their math abilities.  Not only are they gaining important math skills, but they are also gaining confidence in their reading abilities.

Integrate Math and Reading: Close Reading Steps

Close reading is a daily practice in my classroom. I assign a text on Monday and we practice with the same text throughout the week. I assign close reading as a workstation for independent practice. 

Here’s how it works. Before I even begin to assign close reads as a workstation, I make sure that my students know how to respond to text-dependent writing. I model this at the beginning of the year and we practice, practice,  and practice some more to make sure that students can work on close reading with text with a partner or independently. I know they are ready when my students can read the question and then restate the question in their written response and also annotate the text and underline text evidence to prove their answer.

Integrate Math and Reading: Close Reading Annotation

On Day 1 of a close read, students “code” or annotate the text by:

  • Numbering the paragraphs
  • Placing a question mark next to anything confusing
  • Drawing a star next to important text
  • Circling any unfamiliar words
Image of a text titled

After all of my students finish their first read of the text, we have a brief whole group discussion to:

  • Review any confusing parts of the text
  • Discuss unfamiliar words
  • Share what students selected as important text

Integrate Math and Reading: Responding to Text

On Day 2, students reread the text and answer one or two questions about the text.  When they answer the questions they need to underline evidence from the text to support their answers.

On Days 3 and 4, students continue to reread the text and finish answering all of the questions.

On Day 5, students meet with me in small groups with their text and completed responses to review and discuss the answers.

Integrate Math, Science & Social Studies into Reading

The hardest part about practicing close reading and responding to text-dependent questions?  Is finding the TEXT.  There are PLENTY of texts out there but I am always searching for engaging texts that would help my students read about topics that correspond to other subject standards.  

Start by looking at the curriculum textbooks. This is a great place to find other subjects that can be integrated into reading. Make a copy of the text for your students to annotate. Use text-dependent questions from the textbook or create your own. Science, social studies, and math textbooks can be utilized. 

Close Reading Math Topics

To incorporate and integrate more in-depth math topics into my ELA block,  I wrote some texts of my own.  I have created three different text sets:

  • Set 1: Expressions, Order of Operations, Patterns
  • Set 2: Prime & Composite Numbers, Prime Factorization, Multiples
  • Set 3: Fractions, Equivalent Fractions, Fractions & Mixed Numbers

I focused on topics that were extra challenging for my own students.  Each set contains three different topics with two passages for each topic for differentiation with four to five text-dependent questions for each text topic.   The “two-star” texts are written at a 4th-5th grade level while the “one-star” texts are written at a 3rd-4th grade level. The question sets for each text are the same.  

Math is usually my students’ favorite subject and they enjoy seeing math topics in our ELA practice.  I like that they can make connections in reading to math topics that they may have difficulty understanding in math.  Students learn in a variety of ways and presenting a concept in a different content area using familiar reading strategies can really help students build the content knowledge they need for academic success.  Integrating subjects is a powerful way to maximize the time teachers have to help their students achieve mastery of concepts and standards. 

And the beauty of using close reading in math is that students are reading and working through the SAME text for four days. Teachers know that students need to be exposed to new learning multiple times before it is retained in their memory.

Math Close Read Annotation FREEBIE

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Need some help with teaching your students to close read texts AND answer text-dependent questions? I’ve created some FREE Annotation Symbols Bookmarks for you. This PDF also includes a full-page Annotation Symbols chart to display in your classroom.

I hope this post helps you to think about ways that you can integrate other content into your Reading or ELA block. If you are interested, check out my Math Close Reading Texts.

Happy Teaching!

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