Do you have a child or student who isn’t doing well in math? Perhaps this student has been diagnosed with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or another learning difference. No matter what’s on the student’s plate, the nitty gritty of it is this; math facts must be memorized and the student must be able to be recall these facts automatically for math success.
The greatest gift you can give a student struggling in math is the solid foundation of knowing math facts. Following are some tips and guidelines to follow when helping your child memorize these crucial math components.
- Don’t use traditional flashcards. A student with a learning difference does not learn in this left-brain dominant fashion. Usually, these students need to see, hear, and move in order to memorize, so simply looking at meaningless numbers most likely won’t help.
- Don’t attempt to teach your child all of a group of facts at one time. Start with 1’s or 2’s, depending on where your child’s current ability lies. Focus on just 1’s until your child has mastered these facts. Then go to the next set, 2’s, and practice those until mastery is achieved. Then, continue on in this fashion with the rest of the number sets.
- Before presenting another set of facts, do a review of facts already learned. Students with learning differences will often forget what they knew the day before, so review is important.
- Use a tactile substance, such as sand or shaving cream for practice. Have the student write and say the math facts in the substance while saying the fact out loud. Color is important, so make sure to use colored sand or put food coloring in the shaving cream.
- Present the answer with the fact. The student needs to associate the answer with the group of numbers that it goes with. Traditional flashcards and workbooks usually don’t show the answer with the fact. The student rarely sees the answer, so in turn, does not memorize or recognize these number combinations.
- Use colored markers or pencils when practicing math facts instead of a traditional pencil. Most students who struggle with math facts are right-brain dominant, and color helps the right side of the brain stay focused while doing math.
- Use patterning of numbers that appear in the math facts. For instance, if you are working on multiplication facts and focusing on 3’s, then have your child count by 3’s while doing another activity, such as throwing a ball back and forth or jumping on a trampoline.
- There are many apps that make math facts interesting and fun. Many are very affordable or free.
These are just a few ideas that I hope will help you and your child gain this important math foundation. Games of any kind will help and make it fun as well. Just don’t give up, and pretty soon you’ll have a math whiz on your hands!