Story Problems Made Easy


I’m one of those weird people who LOVE word problems. Probably because I’ve never been great at math, but reading has always come easily. So reading and math? Oh, yeah!

But if you’ve ever tried to teach kindergarteners to follow multi-step directions, you know just how difficult word problems can be to teach! And what about those kiddos who don’t read yet? Never fear – i’m going to show you how I taught word problems in a way that ALL of my kiddos were able to work a problem independently.

It started with this chart:


Right now i’m ONLY teaching addition word problems. Once we have a good grasp on that, i’ll go back and make another chart for subtraction.

On this chart, I put step-by-step how I wanted my students to go about solving their word problem and proving their answer. I color coded it so it would be as simple as possible to follow the directions. In fact, with my kiddos who have a hard time following directions, I made them color-code their work with crayons so that they HAD to look at this chart.

No, not all of my students can read yet. As long as they follow these steps, they don’t need to. Along with “more,” I later added on underline “all together.” I just didn’t want to overwhelm students right away.


We practiced, and practiced, and practiced together on the interactive board. I constantly referred back to the anchor chart and had students tell me the next step. Honestly, I think I could put any work onto the board and my students would become instantly more engaged.

The sheets we were using were from my Addition Word Problems pack. I think its important that, whatever you are using, your practice matches exactly what the students will be expected to do. You may have noticed that these also match my anchor chart.

Last, students completed a word problem themselves:


As one of my little boys would say, “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey.”

Find addition and subtraction story problems here!

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