The Importance of Learning Times Tables

Like learning to their tie shoes, brushing their teeth properly, or getting themselves dressed each day when children are young, it’s just as important for them to learn their multiplication tables as they get older.  There are a number of reasons why learning these facts are beneficial for students.


Building Blocks


Multiplication is the building block of much more complicated math problems and strategies.  Students who are comfortable with quickly recalling multiplication tables find more success when entering higher levels of mathematics.  Imagine the amount of time it would take for a student to complete a long-division problem on a test if they’re challenged with computing multiplication facts quickly.  Many math teachers do not allow the use of calculators on tests and quizzes, thus leaving the brainwork up to that of the student.  Furthermore, the use of calculators often leads to keying errors.


How You Can Help


First, be sure your child understands the concept of multiplication before they begin to memorize the facts.  Show your child a 100’s chart so he/she can discover patterns, discuss how multiplication is simply a faster way of adding repeated numbers and sets of objects.


Next, demonstrate what memorization of facts looks and sounds like by having your child “quiz” you on any multiplication fact (set parameters before the quiz so that the multiplication facts are within reason…unless you’d like to be computing 5239 X 3293 in your head).  Children will begin to understand that multiplication facts need to be like a reflex.


When you begin to look at the facts, get the easy ones out of the way like the 1’s, 10’s, and all reciprocal facts (4X7 and 7X4).  Once they learn the simple rules of these facts, they are left with very few that actually need to be memorized and the task, as a whole, seems less daunting.


Finally, start practicing…but make it fun!  There are a number of multiplication fact games that can be found inexpensively on sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers or you can make up your own!  Play Multiplication Fact Tic-Tac-Toe where there is a tic-tac-toe board with multiplication problems and each player must say the answer to the problem before placing a marker on their desired space.


Here are some websites that offer free multiplication games:


The more practice your child has, the more comfortable he or she will be with recalling the answers.  Make it fun by incorporating games, take breaks when there is frustration, and celebrate successes!  


Blog written by Lauren Bronson from Tampa Learning Co.

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