‘Talking numbers’ can improve a child’s math skills

Washington, Nov 10 : Research has revealed that young children's math skills improve when parents talk frequently about numbers.

University of Chicago said that, for instance, children whose parents talked more about numbers were much more likely to understand the cardinal number principle-which states that the size of a set of objects is determined by the last number reached when counting the set.

"By the time children enter preschool, there are marked individual differences in their mathematical knowledge, as shown by their performance on standardized tests," said psychologist Susan Levine.

"The frequency with which parents' talk with their toddlers about numbers, such as counting the number of objects in spatial arrays and labeling these set sizes, predicts their children's understanding of numbers," agreed Soo-Siang Lim, program director for the National Science Foundation's Science of Learning Centers Program.

Frequent use of number words is important, even if the child doesn't seem to pick up on the meanings of the number words right away, Levine said.

Those children in the study who heard a lot of number talk were more likely to respond correctly when shown a set of five squares and four squares and asked to "point to five."

The results of the study were published in the current issue of Developmental Psychology.

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