This RTI recommendation suggests that a highly effective way to support elementary students in their understanding of math word problems is to display a poster of how familiar problems become unfamiliar.
So much of the Common Core for Mathematics require students to solve in the context of a word problem. Print this out as a classroom poster or distribute to parents or paste in student's math journals to use as an anchor chart for students to reference when solving unfamiliar math word problems.
Remind students that if they know how to solve simple word problems that are familiar to them, they should go about the unfamiliar ones the same way. It is important to make sure students are able to recognize the different ways simple familiar word problems can become unfamiliar!