Early Math Skills:Multiplication Tables and Skip-Counting

Some children do very well at memorizing their multiplication tables.  Some struggle.  An important bridge students need to cross before multiplying is skip-counting. Skip-counting is a concept that helps students understand their multiplication drills.  Sometimes, the reason children struggle with their multiplication tables is that they have skipped this VERY important step. Skip-counting forwards is not enough.  They must learn to skip-count backwards, as well. If a child can say their multiplication tables with ease and cannot skip-count with ease, then they have only memorized a bunch of numbers.  This will cause problems eventually.  
 The first step to learning to skip-count should involve a hundred chart or number line.  This visual tool helps them have some confidence and visualize number sequences.  Have them count backwards from 60 to zero by 3's.  Next, have them start at 100 and count backwards by 5's.  Finally, have them skip-count as a mental exercise.  Without a hundred chart, children should be able to skip-count backwards QUICKLY  from 100 to zero before even trying to memorize multiplication tables.
 Teach your student to skip-count before putting multiplication flashcards in front of them.  Yes, it is difficult for some, at first.  However, they will rise to the occasion and, with practice, go forward in their early math skills.
Have Fun Teaching!
Miss Amy
Elementary K-6 Tutor
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