Connecticut Families Extra: Counting with pictures: Better math for kids

Connecticut Families

Parents, want to help your toddler get a jump start on math? A better way to practice counting, next on positive parenting.

Math is an essential subject students must learn in school. It’s a skill needed in everyday life, too. So how can you help your young child learn the basics?

Counting: it’s one of the first math skills kids learn. Now, a new study shows the way children practice counting might affect how much they understand.

Scientists looked at preschool-aged children to find out if it was better for kids to learn to count with physical objects or with pictures in a book. Results showed counting with either objects or pictures improved kids’ counting skills equally, but children who practiced counting with pictures demonstrated a better understanding of a concept called cardinality.

Cardinality is the understanding that the number word used to tag the final item in a set tells us the total number of objects in the set. Cardinality is thought to be a foundational skill for children’s understanding of mathematics.

So while there are many ways to practice counting, this research suggests counting objects in picture books might be a good way to give your child a boost.

Typically, when kids first learn to count, they just recite numbers without understanding the concept behind it. By age five, most kids can recognize numbers up to ten and write them. Kids older than five may be able to count to 100 and read numbers up to twenty.

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