Loretta Jean Everhart knows math instruction — and children. She believes students are more motivated to learn when math instruction is not isolated, but instead connected to other subjects and the real world. Math Vitamins, an 8.5 x 11-inch handbook for parents and teachers, is based on her 30-plus years of teaching math in elementary schools. The book contains easily read foundational information and presents a task-analyzed approach to solving word problems.
Chapters cover the importance of various tasks, including: teaching problem-solving skills; establishing math vocabulary; using writing and reading strategies with word problems; understanding and preventing math anxiety, and more.
For word problems, Everhart uses Polya’s Four-Step Problem Solving Model: (1) understand the problem, (2) develop a plan to solve the problem, (3) carry out the plan, and (4) look back. Detailed and understandable explanations are given for each step. For example, in step one, “understand the problem,” Everhart covers finding the problem question, rephrasing the question as a statement (with a blank for the answer), highlighting key words to determine what operation is needed, and determining if there is missing or unneeded information in the word problem. The appendix includes a 43-page reproducible handout on the Polya model that students can keep in their problem-solving journals for reference.
Math Vitamins is well organized and well written. Everhart clearly explains concepts and provides specific strategies for teaching problem-solving to children. She includes lists of resources (math-themed storybooks, websites, and an extensive bibliography) for parents and teachers to find more information if desired. Both parents and teachers will find this book an excellent addition to their instructional library.
Also available as an ebook.