Reading comprehension and mathematical concept acquisition through the use of math stories with bilingual children

Chan-Ho Chae, Florida International University


Math storybooks are picture books in which the understanding of mathematical concepts is central to the comprehension of the story. Math stories have provided useful opportunities for children to expand their skills in the language arts area and to talk about mathematical factors that are related to their real lives. The purpose of this study was to examine bilingual children's reading and math comprehension of the math storybooks. The participants were randomly selected from two Korean schools and two public elementary schools in Miami, Florida. The sample consisted of 63 Hispanic American and 43 Korean American children from ages five to seven. A 2 x 3 x (2) mixed-model design with two between- and one within-subjects variable was used to conduct this study. The two between-subjects variables were ethnicity and age, and the within-subjects variable was the subject area of comprehension. Subjects were read the three math stories individually, and then they were asked questions related to reading and math comprehension. The overall ANOVA using multivariate tests was conducted to evaluate the factor of subject area for age and ethnicity. As follow-up tests for a significant main effect and a significant interaction effect, pairwise comparisons and simple main effect tests were conducted, respectively. The results showed that there were significant ethnicity and age differences in total comprehension scores. There were also age differences in reading and math comprehension, but no significant differences were found in reading and math by ethnicity. Korean American children had higher scores in total comprehension than those of Hispanic American children, and they showed greater changes in their comprehension skills at the younger ages, from five to six, whereas Hispanic American children showed greater changes at the older ages, from six to seven. Children at ages five and six showed higher scores in reading than in math, but no significant differences between math and reading comprehension scores were found at age seven. Through schooling with integrated instruction, young bilingual children can move into higher levels of abstraction and concepts. This study highlighted bilingual children's general nature of thinking and showed how they developed reading and mathematics comprehension in an integrated process.

Subject Area

Language arts|Mathematics education|Curricula|Teaching|Preschool education

Recommended Citation

Chae, Chan-Ho, "Reading comprehension and mathematical concept acquisition through the use of math stories with bilingual children" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3151963.