Readying Arkansas for a lifetime of literacy
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Count Me In: Math Literacy

Math literacy is an essential skill for adults, empowering them to confidently navigate daily life. Whether it’s creating a budget to manage finances, measuring ingredients for cooking, helping children with homework, or accurately dosing medications, math literacy plays a vital role in our students lives.

Understanding the Challenges

Math literacy can be an overwhelming and sensitive topic for many adult learners. Past negative school experiences often contribute to anxiety, while gaps in knowledge and skills can lead to feelings of embarrassment and shame. Creating a safe learning environment where students feel comfortable making mistakes is crucial for effective learning.

Strategies for Enhancing Math Literacy

1. Make It Relevant

One of the most effective ways to engage adult learners is by showing them how math applies to their everyday lives. This could be through:

  • Budgeting and Financial Planning: Teach them how to create a budget, understand interest rates, and plan for the future.
  • Cooking and Shopping: Use recipes to explain fractions or compare prices to teach percentages and basic arithmetic.
  • Workplace Applications: Tailor lessons to their job roles, whether it’s calculating project costs, analyzing data, or understanding statistics.


2. Build Confidence Incrementally

Math anxiety is a real barrier. Overcoming this requires:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate small victories to build confidence.
  • Incremental Learning: Break down complex problems into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Supportive Environment: Create a non-judgmental space where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities.


3. Hands-On and Practical Activities

Learning by doing helps concepts stick:

  • Real-Life Projects: Plan an event, create a budget, or undertake a DIY project that involves measurements and calculations.
  • Group Activities: Collaborate on solving real-world problems, which encourages discussion and different approaches to finding solutions.


4. Tailored Instruction

Personalized learning ensures that individual needs are met:

  • Assessment: Regularly assess to identify strengths and areas needing improvement.
  • Customized Lessons: Adapt lessons to address specific gaps in knowledge and build on existing skills.


Khan Academy: fantastic website with great videos that students can watch over and over till they get the concepts. The math section includes practice and an extensive tracking program for the teachers An introduction to a variety of strategies that can be used to help you teach basic math to the adult learner.

Math Goodies: Math Goodies is your free math help portal featuring interactive lessons, worksheets, games and puzzles.

TV411: An educational site that helps bring math literacy into relevant day to day activities.

Contact Info

Thanks for visiting the website of Adult Learning Alliance of Arkansas.

124 W Capitol Ave, Suite 1000

Little Rock, AR 72201

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