Scientists: Give Your Child a Head Start in Math by Using Numbers When You Talk

There are many “tricks” to memorize mathematical concepts. From simple rhymes like “one, two, buckle my shoe” to more complex mnemonic devices, children are usually taught to repeat the order of numbers or the results of multiplication tables. Researchers are now discovering how the power of language can influence a child’s ability to process arithmetic in meaningful ways.

Since the 1970s, researchers have known that counting and comprehension of numbers are two separate things.  Evidence has also shown that early experiences in life can influence a person’s mathematical abilities later in life. By studying dialects of Slovenian and Saudi Arabic, Professor David Barner has found that language can form foundations of numeric understanding. According to Barner, “…hearing number words in naturalistic speech -- not just in counting routines and procedures -- is a critical part of number word learning." By introducing arithmetic into everyday conversation, parents can encourage their child’s comprehension of numbers and equations.

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