Embedding Literacy in Math

Area(s) of Focus: math, curriculum
Division(s): Primary
Level(s): Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3

A cross-curricular connection between language and math using guided reading kits, providing a real-life context to support the deepening of conceptual understanding in mathematics.

This project was designed to build resources within our school that would allow for a cross-curricular connection between language and math. We purchased three guided reading kits from “Teacher Created Materials.”

(https://www.teachercreatedmaterials.com/administrators/series/mathematics-readers-117/), for grades 1 to 3.


Team Members

  • Carri Bonisteel

    Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

  • Jessica Mikel

    Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

  • The improvement of student learning
  • A deeper understanding of student misconceptions in math
  • A collaborative approach to link literacy and math in an engaging, visual way
  • Developed more effective and differentiated guided literacy/math activities to address the variety of student needs in a classroom
  • Common vocabulary across the division, more opportunity for collaboration as everyone had the same access to the same resource
  • Able to be used and linked to our Scope and Sequence training through our board

Activities and Resources

  • Kits were purchased and release time was spent exploring the kit as a team and learning about the different components included
  • Trial run: Using the kit materials, a pre-task was administered to a small group of students followed by guided reading lessons. A post-task was also administered and three of four students showed gains.
  • Our second release day was spent reflecting on the process and creating a presentation so that the resource could be shared with the primary division
  • Our presentation was shared with colleagues during our April staff meeting

Unexpected Challenges

  • Guided reading levels were more content-/grade-based and not individual levels which presents challenges for guided reading. Text appeared one grade above.
  • We found the lengthy lesson plans to be challenging and slightly unrealistic in terms of classroom management. Content within the texts provides a lot of opportunity for math discussion thus making a typical reading of the text to take more than one sitting.
    • One idea would be to use classroom volunteers so that more students can be seen frequently

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

Guided reading and math provide a real-life context to support struggling students who need additional supports while developing conceptual understanding. The visual lessons are easily followed and can be used in a variety of ways (i.e., whole group, guided group, individual support).


We took an opportunity to share our new resources with our primary teaching colleagues at an April staff meeting. We provided them with a list of the units and book titles covered in each of the three kits for them to easily locate their current mathematics focus. We then shared with them a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the resources included in each kit.

Over the course of our project, we selected a target group and used the resource to teach a math strand and observe the results. These findings were also shared with the staff.

Project Evaluation

We feel our project was a success as we were able to gain more resources for guided reading with a cross-curricular math focus – with the added bonus of these guided readers containing real-life content to deepen student conceptual understanding. Our trial run showed that math gains can be made using kit materials. This was measured through a pre- and post-assessment.

Although this provides more reading opportunities for students, the kit does not necessarily lend itself to a guided levelled reading experience as reading levels aren’t as diverse as the students’ needs in a classroom.

For a future project, it would have been beneficial to have several primary staff attempt similar tasks to provide us with more data and feedback.

Resources Used

Teacher Created Materials – Mathematics Readers – Kits 1, 2 and 3

Each kit includes:

  • Eight math units with two different texts per topic (16 different texts in total)
  • A teacher’s guide with guided reading lessons as well as focused math lessons
  • Diagnostic material as well as pre- and post-task assessments for each unit
  • Student reproducible(s)
  • Problem-solving transparencies
  • Interactive math activities CD


Resources Created

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