Sometimes, a child who has to memorize facts in isolation can be overwhelmed by the daunting task ahead. A child who can see relationships in the numbers can develop fluency and efficiency by making connections between known and unknown facts. For example, by understanding the commutative property of addition, children know that 3 + 5 is the same as 5 + 3: understanding this relationship cuts the number of basic facts in half.This also helps to build number sense.
There are several points to keep in mind as you work with your child to help them gain mastery of facts:
1. Help children develop a strong understanding of number relationships and of the operations. Allow your child to make connections between numbers and use strategies that make sense to them.
- o Knowing 5 + 5 is helpful in knowing 5 + 6 because 6 is just one more than five and therefore, one more than 10.
- o Knowing 6 x 10 is helpful in knowing 6 x 9 because it is one less group of 6.
2. Develop efficient strategies for fact retrieval through practice.
3. Provide drill in the use of selection of those strategies once they have been developed.
4. Ask your child if the answer is reasonable – whether it is correct or incorrect without judgment. This often gives your child the opportunity to either reassure themselves or rethink their solution..
5. Encourage your child to estimate the answer.
6. For problems keep the numbers grounded in the situation and ask what the numbers mean.
7. Play number games and strategy games.
Taken from Teaching Student Centered Mathematics (Lovin and Van de Walle, 2006, pp 95-96),