The BEST Problem Solving Strategy EVER!


Let’s solve a problem today boys and girls!
“Do we add?”…. “Um…yes?”
 Do we subtract? …”I think so.”
Do we multiply? …”I am not sure.”
What are the key words? … “How many?”


UGH times 1,000!
Does this sound familiar to you? Well…these are the exact questions and answers I have been asking and hearing for the past twenty-two years in my classroom.
This is by FAR the BEST
I recently attended a four day Train-the-Trainer Guided Math Workshop in Washington D.C..
AMAZING.. Yes it was!
Anywhoo… I learned this INCREDIBLE strategy called…
The Three Reads Strategy for Problem Solving!
word problems, problem solving, solving word problems
Can you say “Life Altering” or “Teach Altering”… well… this is it peeps!
Read on to see how The Three Reads Strategy is implemented…

1.  Set the stage for your students to understand what is about to occur and explain the process.
Today we are going to solve some word problems. We are going to read the problem three times.  Each time we read the problem I am going to ask you a specific question about the problem.  First, you will LISTEN very carefully to the word problem, since you DON’T have it in front of you and I want you to listen and think what the problem is about (comprehension).
2.  First Read: You read the PROBLEM STEM to your students.  A stem is a word problem WITHOUT a question attached to it! Yeppers!
Ask… “What is this story about?”
3.  Second Read:  Display the question on your Smartboard or with your document camera.  Tell the students that NOW they will listen for the math or numbers and units that are in the problem. Ask one of your students to read it aloud to the class (comprehending the math).
Ask what are the quantities or numbers in the story and how are they related? Discuss.
4. Third Read:  Now have another student read the story aloud. Ask the students to THINK about any math questions that they can come up with to ASK about the problem stem. List all the possible questions your students come up with.
5.  Choose a question that the class created and have them solve it in their notebook or on the COOL EDITABLE FREEBIE 
I have for you below. 
If you click on the Freebie link, I would love to have you as my Newsletter subscriber! I send out Fun Freebies with every monthly newsletter I send!
word problem freebie, word problems
In a nutshell… your students will be
I am in AWE of how well my students have learned to problem solve since I have taught this strategy!  Life Altering it IS!  Give it a shot… I would love to know what you think and how your kiddos did with it!
Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  • Leeanne
    February 5, 2016 at 6:24 am

    not able to access your freebie after clicking on the links, after signing up for a newsletter….?

    • Holly
      September 26, 2016 at 1:45 am

      I can’t download the life changing 3 step freebie….what am I doing wrong?

  • Krista
    February 6, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    I am so glad you posted this! When I taught 3rd grade, 6 years ago, we used this strategy. Then I took a 2 year leave of absence to have a baby, developed major mommy-brain, and have been trying to remember this for the past 4 years. Thank you! This is a fantastic way to get the kids to comprehend!

  • Deb
    March 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I would like to download the freebie, but the link doesn’t seem to work.

  • Allyson
    April 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    This is awesome! My kiddos just finished a math unit with multistep word problems that gave even my high flyers BIG problems!! Those multipstep problems are coming back in our next unit, and THIS is how I’m going to introduce them! Thank you!!

  • Carrie
    July 31, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I love this. Can’t wait to use this approach with my 2nd graders this year. Thank you!

  • Devon Allgood
    September 4, 2016 at 1:35 am

    What Math Curriculum do you use?

  • Lyn Melson
    September 26, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Hi. Was excited to use this in my tutoring class. However, I missed the “workshop”and the link doesn’t work. Do I have to attend the workshop in order to download the link? If so please let me know what times you will be sharing, or how I can download the link.