Teaching Literacy in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom
Literacy Definition.jpg

Welcome to this website for teaching literacy in the secondary mathematics course.

This website is based on the strategies of Literacy Programme for NZ schools and the book "Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13, NZ"

However, it has resources that can be adapted by teachers in any subject area.
Ngaire Addis

The aim of this website is to share resources and ideas for incorporating literacy strategies in the teaching of secondary mathematics.

I hope that you will find it useful for the following reasons:

  • My school has had a school-wide focus on Literacy across all subject areas and this website is the result of my learning and a place where I can share the resources I have put together and those that I have collected from Numeracy/ NCEA/ Literacy courses etc.Many other Mathematics Departments across the country are doing or about to do the same. Here is a place where we can share ideas and resources. Please join my wiki. This is a live, ongoing project, so I will keep adding resources as I develop or find them. I hope that you will also contribute your ideas and resources as well.

  • This has been the time to produce such a website for mathematics teachers with the implementation of a new national curriculum and the current focus on teaching Literacy across all subject areas. The teaching of Literacy also links in with the Key Competency "Using Language, Symbols and Text" in the NZ Curriculum. See resource:

  • Indeed, the literacy requirements in the new NCEA Mathematics assessments are much greater than before and there is an acknowledged need for students to have good literacy skills to be able to achieve in these. However, don't wait to deal with this in Year 11 and 12.

  • My own personal interest in using e-learning in mathematics and my professional development goals for the past 5 years - see the Teacher Registration Criteria page at the bottom of the menu on the left hand side.

  • The resources on this website have been collected from numerous sources - my own that I wish to share and those that I have gathered from courses, NZAMT conferences, SNP facilitator meetings and conferences (where people have been willing to share their ideas over the past few years, and also from the internet etc). A big thank you to everyone. Please feel free to also contribute ideas or resources. This website will be an ongoing project.

  • There is a menu of pages on the left hand side. The layout of each of the following pages on this wiki is the same - strategies and resources to use at the top of the page and then underneath in small print - the background reading behind the strategies from the brown NZ Ministry of Education manual "Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13".

  • The pages on this site follow the Ministry of Education Guide "Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9 to 13".

1. What is literacy?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as:
"the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts."

"Literacy is the ability to understand, respond to, and use those forms of written language that are required by society and valued by individuals and communities."
(Ministry of Education, 2003a, p. 19)

Literacy in mathematics is a 21st century skill - see http://21stfollowup.wikispaces.com/Math-Overview

2. Why is this important to mathematics teachers?

Mathematics teachers must also be teachers of literacy ...

"Every teacher is a teacher of literacybecause language is fundamental to thinking and learning."
Literacy Demands in Mathematics

Literacy in the Mathematics Classroom

3. What are the official guidelines and resources?

The New Zealand Curriculum document says:

"Students’ learning progress is closely linked to their ongoing developmentof literacy and numeracy skills.These continue to require focused teaching." (p. 43)

4. What is the current focus on literacy and numeracy in the New Zealand curriculum?

  1. Teaching/incorporating Literacy in all subject areas
  2. Key Competency - Using Language, symbols and text
  3. New NCEA Achievement Standards - all require high levels of literacy and some even contribute to Literacy credits - see Youtube below about new Maths NCEA Achievement Standards and Literacy

See a recent article in the Education Gazette http://www.edgazette.govt.nz/Articles/Article.aspx?ArticleId=7991

5. Where can you go to get official resources and become part of the learning community for secondary literacy across all subjects in New Zealand?

The pages on this website are modelled on the strategies of this Ministry of Education book "Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9 to 13" below.

Book: "Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9 to 13"
Ministry of Education by Learning Media 2004

Website: http://literacyonline.tki.org.nz/

Online Professional Learning Community: To join up the forum for secondary literacy in New Zealand, subscribe on the following link and receive weekely updates from Denise Hitchcock Facilitator: Secondary Literacy community http://literacyonline.tki.org.nz/Literacy-Online/Secondary-Literacy

DVD Resource: Making Language and Learning Work 1
Ministry of Education
The website pages for this DVD are:






Leading Literacy in your School: http://literacyonline.tki.org.nz/Literacy-Online/Secondary-Literacy/Teacher-needs/Leading-literacy-in-your-school

6. Other resources/articles about teaching Literacy in Secondary Mathematics?

Website: http://secondaryliteracyproject.wikispaces.com/home

An important point:

Do not try to use every strategy mentioned in the index above or in the following pages, but rather choose the strategies that best suit what you are teaching in maths and the students you are teaching.