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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 28, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Math’s bad rap

Time to make it fun

I want to thank Jerry Large for his Nov. 17 column on Explorations in Math’s MathFest.

We think math has a bad reputation. Maybe like exercise, people believe that if it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t working. How much would you like to read, if the only book available was a dictionary?

In our community, 46 percent of our fourth-grade students are failing the math WASL [Washington Assessment of Student Learning] — 70 percent in some economically challenged communities.

It’s time to send a clear message: every child can succeed at math. With more opportunities to practice, play with and be challenged by math, our children can become more proficient.

In 1996 a few parents in Washington state (the Reading Foundation) decided to spread the word that to become a capable reader, every child needs 20 minutes a day of reading outside of school. Their local movement spread and forever changed parents’ understanding of the necessity of daily reading. So find a math game, find a child, sit down and play. You’ll be helping them practice basic math skills, reinforcing mathematical concepts and showing how math relates to them.

— Laura Larson, Woodinville

Comments | More in Math, Washington Assessment of Student Learning

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