INTRODUCTION: MATH BEYOND COUNTING

I know that many people understand the value of teaching their child to read before they enter formal education. Why not? Reading is crucial for every school subject and everyday life in out modern literate society.

Initially teaching a very young child to read appears to be an intimidating and momentous task. But it is journey that many parents are willing to take.

I have written this post about how I taught my own toddler to read.

However it isn’t only early reading literacy that I wish to address. I also want to write about early math literacy. According to to this article about a study from the University of Missouri; the math ability of a child during their formative preschool years is a pretty reasonable predictor or their future math success.

In a nutshell the more confident a young child is with math, the better they will do in math. They might even enjoy it. I know I do! It might even be possible that earlier math literacy will be enough to thwart that dreaded math phobia or anxiety. More children may even consider or pursue careers in mathematical fields.

Even though I love math, and I have always “got it”, I know that there are many parents that are overwhelmed with math and don’t know where to start with their young child. Many parents start by teaching their child to count, which more often that not, is just recitation of numbers. Not counting at all. They fail to implement bijection (one-to-one correspondence) and create awareness that the last number counted is the total amount.

I know parents that have started with a subtitizing or dot program such as Doman Math or Brill Kids Little Math. At the end of the program, or when their child ages past subtitizing age, they become lost and discouraged and don’t know where to turn next.

I also know parents that are unaware that early math literacy is much more than counting and math facts.

My goal is to create a series of simple posts that cover basic steps that can be used to increase a young child’s math literacy. I don’t claim to be an expert. However I have amalgamated information from what I have studied, others experiences, and my own experience. I am currently working with my 3.5 year old son who is doing 1st grade math at a slow, steady and enjoyable pace.

My Math beyond counting series will cover such thing as:

Number sense and numeracy. Including but not limited to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Spatial relationships

Geometry

Measurement

Hi. First of all congratulations for making this wonderful blog, I follow your blog and have learned many things both here and from your brillkids forum posts. Very inspiring, thank you. I’d like to ask you, you state that you use Rightstart Math as your backbone. My boy is 2 and a half years old. We have previously been counting and doing lots of ipad math apps and recently tried your tips with manipulatives. I agree that it seems to be difficult to grasp that the last number counted is the amount, so I will try and subitize instead. I also bought marshmellow maths. My question is, should I buy the Rightstart math level A book bundle and math kit? Or is it too early? They say it’s for 4-5 year olds but I know you’re using it with your 3 year old. It is quite expensive (260 $ plus) so was wondering if you think it’s worth it. Many thanks! Kind regards, Liesel (Liesel79)

Thank you for your kind words. Sorry it took so long for me to respond.

Do I think it is worth investing in the full RS Math program? No. And that is not because it is not a good program for a 2.5 year old. It is a great program for a 2.5 year old. If you have the patience, can make it fun and have an interested child. But as my son had progressed he is now almost 4 we no longer use it as a spine. We use concepts from it. But we use such a mishmash of other math philosophies also.

What I do recommend is purchasing the MathStartA book, to get a good feel for how right start works. The strategies have been invaluable for my son’s math education. But it has only been a part of the whole approach.

Secondly I would take advantage of great math apps. There are many out there that are very good. Slate Math is free as is Splash Math K, with limited use. However purchasing apps sucks as Math 3-5 and Maths 4-6 have proved worthwhile for us also. We also like dragon math and fit brains.

Marshmallow math is also a great investment. But I prefer kitchen Table Math book as it is more involved and I used it more as a reference.

As your child progresses I would then start looking at other programs. But the things mentioned above would certainly quench the thirst of an EL child for a bit.

Thank you for your reply, I will follow your advise as your success with your little man is so inspiring.

Best regards,

Liesel