Books _ Among the dozen or so math word_problem books of note published in the past decade, one, written by Mary Jane Sterling, from a well_known, popular brand of information books, which I'm unable to name here, stands out. The publisher has put a decent chunk of the book online at books.Google.com (go to books.google.com and search for sterling word problems). Striking Difference in Child Development _ If you are considering arranging extra math drills for your child, keep in mind that story problems are more like the real_life problems he or she will encounter, and, they help develop his or her critical_thinking skills. Children develop mental maturity like they do physical maturity. Think about the strikingly different mental development that ordinary math worksheets might foster in comparison to math word problems. Priorities _ Ordinary math worksheets certainly serve a purpose, but think carefully about the ratio of those to story problems when helping your child prioritize his or her available math study time.
As a math tutor for 15 years, I have tutored hundreds of students from all the grade levels. I found most of the students were not comfortable with mathematics. More than 80% of them said, "the mathematics is very hard." Why do most of the students find mathematics a hard subject and try to avoid it? The answer for the above question is hidden in a simple example. I always give the example of stairs to my students, and giving the same example in this article. I compare the steps of a staircase to the concepts in mathematics. As this is very hard to reach higher floors of a building without stairs (or elevators these days), same way learn higher concepts in mathematics without learning basic concepts is very hard.