Using a “three reads” strategy to launch the four phases of problem solving

Help students engage in understanding before rushing to solve. Close reading, typically associated with ELA, “peels the onion” uncovering layers of meaning in a text for deeper comprehension. Using three reads, students close listen, then close read to ground their thinking, reasoning, delay answer-getting and surface misconceptions.


Whole Class

Read the problem out loud to the class. Students turn and talk. Next, students view the problem in the app for a whole class choral read. Students start “what do you notice?” Repeat choral for a third read leading to “what do you wonder about?”. This is how UNDERSTAND is launched - students continue on to CueThink.

With Peers (Partners)

Student partner up and take turns reading the problem to each other and follow the same process as for a whole class - this then becomes a “six reads”. An organizer, like our sample on the next page, might be useful until students become familiar with the protocol.

Sample Organizer / Guide

1st READ
     FORGET THE NUMBERS! Ask yourself: “What’s the overall idea here?
2nd READ
     LOOK FOR THE PURPOSE. Think to yourself: “What mathematics might be involved?
3rd READ
     GATHER THE INFORMATION: Look for yourself: Find any information provided and consider what might be needed.


1. To extend this learning strategy beyond the classroom you might have students create a
mnemonic or graphic organizer for three reads for math problem solving.
2. Complement the activity with a 3-2-1 exit ticket or suggested closing for students’ thinklets.
Use this as a whole class conversation or things to consider for annotating class thinklets.
Possible Structure:
(3) three things I Iearned
(2) two things I found interesting [while solving]
(1) one question I still have