How to Solve a Story Problem


Your child came home from school today and insisted, “No! You have to do RDWW!” How do you even respond to that?! Not to worry! This will help. RDWW is a memory tool used by elementary teachers to help children solve story problems, or word problems.

Here is a first grade example: First, we read. Madison picked 3 flowers. Logan picked 2 more. How many flowers did they pick in all?

Next, we draw. Your child will use simple math drawings instead of drawing pictures. For three flowers, draw three open circles. For two flowers, draw two closed circles. Don’t forget to label your drawing! M for Madison and L for Logan.

Now, we write. Use your drawing to write a number sentence for this story. Three plus two equals five.

Last, we write again. Use your number sentence to write an answer statement. They picked five flowers in all.

Read, draw, write, and write. Now you know how to use RDWW to solve a story problem!


Grade 1 Common Core Standards

Operations & Algebraic Thinking: Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.

(1.OA.1) Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.