book cover for The Four Roles of the Numerate Learner
The Four Roles of the Numerate Learner
Mary Fiore and Maria Luisa. Lebar Pembroke Publishers. 128 pages, $24.00
Reviewed by Kit Luce

The subtitle of this book reads Effective Teaching and Assessment Strategies to Help Students Think Differently about Mathematics and this is what the book delivers. The authors have taken a framework of how students interact and learn literacy, the Four Roles of the Literate Learner, and used it to help educators make connections between the strategies they use to teach literacy and those they use to teach and support numeracy.

The four roles of the numerate learner are Sense Maker, Skill User, Thought Communicator and Critical Interpreter. Each chapter provides a definition and sample questions for different grade band levels. The many examples of tasks, the description of assessment opportunities and suggested prompts for questioning make this book a useful resource for educators. Particularly useful are the opportunities for reflection provided throughout the book. Educators are prompted to stop and consider how what they have read applies to their practice and how they can apply these ideas to support the development of mathematical thinking in their learners.

The authors also raise two “elephants in the room.” These are the concern about memorization of basic facts and the role of mathematical content knowledge for teaching. Both are addressed in a straightforward manner with supporting research and a breakdown of what these phrases mean.

The Four Roles of the Numerate Learner is a valuable resource for classroom teachers, math coaches and teacher candidates. It will help deepen their understanding of the different aspects of instruction in mathematics. They can then apply this understanding to help students make sense of mathematical problems, use the skills they have learned to solve a problem, communicate their ideas clearly and understand how math connects and affects the world around them.

Kit Luce is a member of the Simcoe County Teacher Local.


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