Parents often recite numbers-one, two, three…with their children. Now, new research from the University of Missouri suggests reciting numbers is not enough to prepare children for elementary school but ‘counting’ might just be the solution to math success.
The fundamental difference between ‘reciting’ and ‘counting’ as the researchers indicate is that reciting means saying the numbers from memory in chronological order, whereas counting involves understanding that each item in the set is counted once and that the last number stated is the amount for the entire set.
The researchers analysed data from more than 3,000 children from low-income households in order to determine if the children’s reciting and counting abilities in preschool affected their first-grade math scores. They found that students who could recite and count to 20 in preschool had the highest maths scores in first grade; however, less than 10 percent of the children in the study could count and recite to 20.
To cut a long story short, parents and teachers should integrate counting into all aspects of children’s daily activities for example when adults read books with children, they can count the ducks on the page, count the leaves that fall to the ground outside or the number of carrots at lunchtime so that children can master the skill.
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