The relationship among secondary students' reading processes, oral retellings, and problem solving in Algebra II

Kathleen Marie Treacy, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to develop an integrated view of 5 secondary students' interaction with the algebra textbook. The first phase studied how the students created meaning from the algebra textbook, while the second phase explored how the students applied their created meanings to solving a word problem. The participants were 12th grade students enrolled in a class entitled Algebra II Basic, a class that covers a minimum number of algebra topics with a focus on mastery. The students were asked to complete four tasks for this study: (a) read the textbook section aloud, (b) orally retell the textbook section, (c) highlight the important portions of the textbook section, and (d) solve and discuss their answer to a word problem based upon the textbook section. The data from the study was employed to create reader profiles. Each profile contained the researcher's notes, a miscue analysis of the read aloud, a taxonomy classification of the oral retelling, a comparison analysis of the highlighting, and an analysis of the problem solving methodology and answer interpretation. Also, the individual data was aggregated to create a group profile. The findings of this study indicate that there is a strong relationship between oral reading processes, oral retellings, and perceptions of the algebra textbook as related to solving an algebra word problem. The participants' strategies and behaviors during the reading tasks led to either successful or unsuccessful problem solving. The successful problem solvers maintained the authors' meaning on a majority of their miscues. During the read aloud and the problem solving task, successful problem solvers used different reading strategies than their unsuccessful counterparts. They provided detailed oral retellings that included the language and the algebra of the passage. Successful problem solvers also integrated their highlighted text into their problem solving task, and they created and solved the correct algebra equation for the word problem. Although the Algebra II students in this study were capable of reading the written discourse of the textbook, the findings indicated that some of the students did not understand what they had read. The study provided evidence that students may not be able to integrate the algebra textbook into their learning experience because they have difficulty comprehending the written discourse.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Mathematics education

Recommended Citation

Treacy, Kathleen Marie, "The relationship among secondary students' reading processes, oral retellings, and problem solving in Algebra II" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3160651.