I came across these articles online
and thought they makes a great case
for the importance of learning tables.
We don’t learn ‘times’ tables until third class,
but what is said about them here also applies to
addition and subtraction tables:
If you have an older child who is
learning multiplication or division tables,
this site might be useful
I am filing it here for future reference.
It might come in useful to your child
in Third Class next year.
I also thought the following articles fascinating
and ‘food for thought’.
The Importance of Learning Tables
Tables are a basic essential for when learning mathematics.
Children need to master them.
Unless they do this…
are taught in 1st and 2nd class.
In this school tables to 6 are taught in 1st.
The class teacher revises these in 2nd
and then the children continue to learn
tables up to adding and taking away 12.
Multiplication/Division are taught in 3rd and 4th.
Regular revision of tables is part of the
5th and 6th class programme.
1st/2nd Class provide ‘a window of opportunity’
to learn addition/subtraction tables.
It is important to master these tables
by the end of 2nd because
• in 3rd and 4th the focus changes to multiplication and division.
• if a child knows their simple number facts
then they can give their full attention to methodology when being
taught new maths
If the children have the answers to the tables
at the tip of their tongue then they can concentrate
on learning the methodogy of new sums.
The children who know their number facts speed
through the maths worksheets in class.
Teachers can teach the tables, but
children really need to learn them.
Tables are regularly given as homework.
Sometimes children think that homework
of a ‘learning off’ type is less important
than written homework.
But learning tables is very important.
Teachers in 5th and 6th find they are
teaching tables that should have been
learnt in 3rd and 4th.
Teachers in 3rd and 4th
find themselves teaching addition
and take away tables to a number of their class.
Learning tables needn’t be done at the kitchen table.
You can work on them with your child on the journey
to and from school
children are learning new sums.
Children need to be able to rattle off
their tables like they know their own name.
Otherwise, though they understand
how to do a sum, they may make mistakes
in simple addition or take away.
Why not use a calculator?
Children can become over reliant on calculators.
They don’t develop estimating skills.
Keying in the wrong number can happen.
But because the student hasn’t developed estimating skills
they are then unaware when a particular answer is unlikely.
Failing to learn tables makes learning more complicated maths,
more difficult than it need to be.
If a child can automatically knows the answer
to a table then more difficult maths will be less challenging.
Teachers are finding that children think
they don’t understand a sum when
all that is happening is that they are
making simple mistakes in addition,
subtraction, multiplication or division.
This can be discouraging for the child.
Losing confidence in their ability can be demotivating.
Children may view themselves as someone
who doesn’t understand maths,
when in reality it is that they don’t know their tables.
Ways of learning
In 1st and 2nd Class we practise tables,
in a concrete way, using lollipop sticks and unifix cubes.
We also use the table book.
In school we use Joyce O’Hara’s Addition and Subtraction CD
from Ashton Productions
In class we say ‘one and zero make one’,
one and one make two’…’one from six leaves five’.
In this way we use the same language as this cd.
Children learn in different ways.
Many respond to working with concrete objects;
lollipop sticks, cubes, smarties.
Some children learn best by singing or chanting the table.
For some, keeping track of their tables on their fingers
(a kinaesthetic approach) helps.
Towards of 2nd class multiplication is introduced
as repeated addition.
In class the children learn about number patterns
and learn to count in 2s, 4s, 5s,etc., using the hundred square.
You may find these lively online videos from
for learning number patterns.
Children REALLY need to know their tables!
As is mentioned on the coolmaths4kids site
among the concepts in primary school maths
which children find challenging are long division and fractions.
In a typical long division sum, a child will need to
divide, multiply and subtract several times.
Working with fractions also need the ability
to add, subtract, multiply and divide.
Without knowing their tables, children will find this very hard.
How Parents Can Help Their Child Memorize the Times Tables
– Let your children see, that you place value on learning tables
and that you think tables are important.
– Show your child how quickly an answer should be arrived at!
– Find out what your child already knows. Once again the following
game is useful for checking tables.
-Focus on what they need to learn.
Involve your child in setting goals.
– Spending quality time together practicing.
Praise and encouragement are all motivating for your child.