Times tables are the basis for very many maths skills. From fractions to division to decimals and many more in between – if you know your times tables, you can master them all. But what’s the best way to learn them? Here are our tips:
Children learn through repetition. The simple act of repeating the same thing again and again and again. It sounds boring, but to a child’s brain it creates a pattern which they can remember.
If you walk to school, pick a times table to practise, maybe Monday’s is x3 day and Tuesday is x4. Remember the pattern of how you do it, so it’s super easy to remember.
It could be that certain times tables are associated with certain tasks. So, brushing your teeth for two minutes becomes practising your two times table in your head, for however many times it takes to get to two minutes. By using everyday tasks, it weaves the practice into daily life, making it a habit rather than a chore.
We all learn in different ways and for some of us, it’s easier to listen, than read. Car journeys are a great way to stick on a CD or stream the latest tunes, but add into the mix, a times tables CD. Singing along to times tables as a family not only helps the kids, but also gives you a refresh. There are so many different ones available, from rock versions to those that are set to popular pop songs.
Different people learn in different ways, some learn from listening, some by reading and some learn best by being shown or watching to truly understand.
YouTube is a great resource, with hundreds of times tables videos. Some are sung, some are shown with numbers on the screen and some are patterns. Use them all to see what sticks.
Kids are also far more likely to be happy to sit and watch a video on YouTube than they are to sit and read or practise their times tables. And as long as it’s going in, it helps.
Look, cover, write, check. Who hasn’t heard those words? But the reason it’s used so much is that it works. It combines, listening, writing, watching and repetition. Plus there’s the ‘have I or haven’t I got it right?’ excitement, like a mini-competition.
Get a new notebook – let your child pick – and write out their 2x table. Then leave five or six pages blank next to each one, before writing the next one and repeat through to the 12x table.
Then let them look at one of the times tables, say the 2x table. Look at it, cover it up with your hand and get them to write out what they think it is. Then check it.
It may seem stupidly simple, but it’s a great way for them to build their confidence, practise and get lots of lovely ticks, gold stars and smiley faces when they get each one right.
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