Reading: “I can read the language of maths and know what its symbols mean”

Mathematics has its own abstract language which needs to be learnt by students. The Reading goal within SURF is about students’ ability to understand and apply these abstract codes, as well as an understanding of how these symbols translate into everyday language. At the lower primary level, the Reading goal involves recognising and interpreting the basic operators, equality and inequality signs, and numbers.

Reading is clearly connected to the mathematical goal of Understanding, and in some ways, could be viewed as a subset of Understanding. The advantage of specifying Reading as a separate goal is that it ensures sufficient emphasis is placed within the curriculum on building an understanding of mathematical language. This is particularly important given that much of the standardised testing against which schools are evaluated (e.g., NAPLAN) tend to give students mathematical problems which are highly contextualised. The key is to extract the relevant mathematics from the question. An emphasis on being able to read, interpret and apply the language of mathematics should support this ability.