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Each week we will share one strategy that you can use to meet the needs of your diverse multilingual learners in secondary content classes. This week’s strategy is specifically for secondary math teachers but could be adapted for use in many content areas.

Instructional Strategy: Three-Read Protocol

Language Objective: I can read story problems in math.

Three-Read Protocol: How-To

Before the Activity

Prepare story problems using a concept you’re teaching. Create a graphic organizer to guide students through the three different readings of the story problem.

During the Activity

  1. With one story problem, model the three-read protocol. Think aloud each step to show students how to break down story problems.
    • Read the problem once to understand the story
    • Read a second time to understand the math
    • Read a third time to make a plan and solve the problem
  2. Students work in pairs to follow the protocol with a second story problem. This allows them to discuss each step.
  3. Continue using the three-read protocol until students can do it independently.

Extra Support for MLs

  • During the first read, introduce the problem without numbers or the question
  • Show visuals to support understanding of new vocabulary
  • Allow students to draw pictures during the second read

Example: SM2

LT: I can solve real-life problems involving special right triangles.

After learning about the Pythagorean theorum, give students story problems reflecting real-world situations (elevation, distance, etc.). Provide a 3-read graphic organizer and help students break down the problems before solving them.

Helpful Links to Learn More

We would love to know how this tip worked for you! Please share any experiences with your PLC or ML supervisor, or email Tani Brown (Secondary ELD Curriculum Specialist) at


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