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# resources for teaching math facts for dyslexics?

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Looking for recommendations for resources to make learning math facts easier for my dyslexic kids.  We have Times Tales.  Is there anything like this out there for addition and subtraction facts, or lower times tables?

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Well, you can try Prodigy math.  You can also try  Timez Attacks.  I also really love the review system that CLE has built into its lessons if you are interested in trying CLE Math (can't remember what you are using so maybe you are already using this?).  And there are the Ronit Bird materials.

Frankly, though, this may never come easily.  Ever.  At least not for all facts.  What will help even if all facts are not truly mastered is for there to be super solid conceptual understanding and solid subitization skills.  For instance, if your child sees two die, and one has 3 dots and the other has 2 dots, will they know immediately that there are a total of 5 dots?  Or will they have to count some of the dots individually?  Can your children pull apart the numbers into sets of components and reassemble them using manipulatives then translate that into number symbols?

Just as with teaching them to read, math facts may need a lot of consistent exposure over and over and over and over, from many different frames of reference.  Flash cards in isolation may be utterly useless but flash card drill coupled with daily games and work with manipulatives may help.

Later on, as you get further down the road,  what has helped here for multiplication is really working hard on skip counting, which you could try working on now.  FWIW, I have a friend who is a very successful nurse.  She also teaches nursing classes.  She has never been able to memorize her math facts but she understands the concepts behind math and can easily and logically think through math problems.  She says the students that do best in her class are not necessarily the ones that have math facts memorized but who can understand the numbers well enough to manipulate them.  When she was in school herself she realized that not having her math facts memorized was slowing her down but try and she might she could not rote memorize.  To pass her standardized tests quickly she used to draw a rapid math chart in the corner of the booklet and refer to it as needed for quick computation.  She always got very good scores.

I had DD do the math facts reference chart creation at the first of each week when we started doing multiplication.  She would use skip counting to finish the chart.  Creating and then using that chart each week helped her to recognize patterns and some facts began to stick that way, especially when we coupled it with the review built into CLE.  She would have to create a new chart at the beginning each week so she got used to building one of her own.  I just printed blank ones off of the internet for her to fill in each week.

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Ronit Bird was really brilliant for my ds for math facts.

The other thing is you need working memory to help get things into long-term memory. So I wonder if some of our success was because we worked a LOT on working memory...

My ds needs to see things in lots of environments, lots of ways. Like it will look like he doesn't know the fact, and it's because it hasn't generalized to the new environment. So it's like ok you know 3+2 is 5 here (with little beads to make dot patterns) but then let's do it lots of other ways (with time, with money, with a calculator, with an abacus, with a hundreds chart, etc.). With him, you throw a new manip at him, and all of a sudden he doesn't know anything, all over again.

For drilling, I think the app we used was Fast Facts Math. Again, the weakness for us was not generalizing. But for drilling, yeah it was terrific. It let you specify which facts, change the amount time it waited, etc.

With Ronit Bird, she has the lessons and then the games. She has some free games ebooks btw. For us, working through Dots and then her Turnovers game (found in the free card games ebook) was enough to nail both addition and subtraction. But, like I said, I was obsessive about carryover, generalizing. We'd play and hand and then I'd say hey, how could we write that as an equation... constantly extending. Once he could play the game, we began extending it to other manips, other representations.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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I was looking to post the same question.... but my student is almost 14. He doesn't have his math facts memorized (even addition!). He mostly eventually gets it right, but is just bogged down.

He did RightStart, so know strategies. We did the card games. I at some point added in Xtramath. He played Timez Attack. He used a sheet with the multiples on them for work.

Rightstart basically says that even if they don't memorize them, they will get to the point where they can get it in 3 seconds or less with the strategies.... well at times my son is sitting there for 10 to 20 seconds trying to get the answer. Very frustrating for something like 8+3.....

He is getting bogged down and I don't know how to help him. He knows how to do it... but it just takes so long.

My dh says that he (my dh) sees the numbers as shapes in his head (with the quantity so maybe 3 is 3 dots in a triangle or something) ... and to add 2 numbers he has to combine the shapes, so it was very hard for him).

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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DD12 (dyslexic) has not mastered her math facts. This past year, she enrolled at a private dyslexia school for fifth grade. They do not emphasize memorizing math facts (at least at this age; I don't know what they do for younger kids) but teach them to use math tools, such as multiplication charts. Using their tools is so emphasized that on the last day of school, they gave each student a toy tool (hammer, wrench, etc.) attached to a little note with a rhyme on it about remembering to use your tools.

They emphasize conceptual understanding of math over rote memorization, because so many of the kids just can't memorize the math facts but can succeed at math otherwise.

The students are exempt from state standardized testing until high school, so I'm not sure what strategies they teach the older students for tackling the math on standardized tests.

I'm not suggesting that anyone decide to give up on practicing math facts, but just presenting an alternate point of view to consider.

ETA: There are math tools other than the multiplication chart. DD brought home a folder of them to use over the summer, but she has only been using the multiplication chart, so I can't remember what they are.

Also, even if you don't use CLE math, they have some good laminated math charts that can be referred to while working math problems.

Edited by Storygirl
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Reflex Math is helpful here.

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I was looking to post the same question.... but my student is almost 14. He doesn't have his math facts memorized (even addition!). He mostly eventually gets it right, but is just bogged down.

He did RightStart, so know strategies. We did the card games. I at some point added in Xtramath. He played Timez Attack. He used a sheet with the multiples on them for work.

Rightstart basically says that even if they don't memorize them, they will get to the point where they can get it in 3 seconds or less with the strategies.... well at times my son is sitting there for 10 to 20 seconds trying to get the answer. Very frustrating for something like 8+3.....

He is getting bogged down and I don't know how to help him. He knows how to do it... but it just takes so long.

My dh says that he (my dh) sees the numbers as shapes in his head (with the quantity so maybe 3 is 3 dots in a triangle or something) ... and to add 2 numbers he has to combine the shapes, so it was very hard for him).

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

My dd struggled to memorize her math facts with RightStart too. I've wondered about the differences, because she, with no math SLD diagnosis and straight ADHD, struggled significantly, and my ds, who does have an SLD math diagnosis (agreed by multiple psychs) does not, or at least has not to the degree of my dd.

My dd had very poor visual memory due that we eventually worked on with VT. She also really struggles with memorization just in general. My ds doesn't seem to have the terrible visual processing problems my dd did, and I definitely think that could have an effect.

To me, RightStart, though it says it's about understanding, is actually more about lots of ways of memorization and looking for patterns. Ronit Bird is a bit different, because she seldom talks strategies. Instead of that whole list (when you see a 9, do this, etc.), she's all about making the numbers MEAN something. SLD math is still a number sense issue. So I *do* think Ronit Bird is a different enough tool that it might have a different effect. Can't promise, just saying it might. It really is a different tool.

Another difference between my two kids is that I've done a LOT more work on working memory and processing speed, RAN/RAS, etc.with my ds. Like with him, we've worked 3-5 times a day, 10 minutes at a time, when we're working on it. It makes him much more functional, and it creates the scratch memory that allows things to go into longer term memory. My dd has word retrieval issues that I never did anything for. When she comes back, I'm hoping to take her through Think/Talk/Laugh. Really, to get your math facts out, they have to be organized where you can retrieve them! TTL works on verbal processing speed and retrieval.

RightStart, just in general, wasn't even in reach for my ds. I taught through almost all the levels with my dd and had repped for them, so I really wanted it to work! It was just greek to him, a no go. It's sorta like comparing AAS and Barton because they both have an OG foundation. Really though, even then it's not the same. It's more like comparing ETC and Barton. ETC technically has an OG foundation, which I never knew, and it's fine, good stuff! With Ronit Bird, I could literally spend a month doing games on "This is the number 5. Can you see that it's 5? Can you see the numbers inside of it?" and playing games with that till he really GOT that that was 5, that there were things inside 5 (ie. that would add up to make 5). It was really brilliant. And that's what I was doing when he was 5, about to turn 6. Same age, lower IQ, my dd was doing RightStart B. It was unbelievable.

By doing the number sense work in RB Dots *so slowly* and in such detail, RB is able to build a strong number sense that you're able then to translate over to written. So for my ds, it was a small thing, at the end of that month, to go oh did you know we could write that as an equation? And then we could drill it. Because the numbers really MEANT something to him.

I'm not saying what you'd do with a 14 yo, sure. My ds has autism on top of his SLDs, so if you change the situation or manipulative, the math fact might not be there with the new manipulative. We're always working on generalization (having it there for EVERY situation, having 3+5 be 8 EVERYWHERE, etc.). RB has tons of great stuff on her website. Her ebooks are super cheap. Doing her 3 main ebooks is comparable to working through her \$\$\$ printed book Toolkit. She just updated all her printed books, expanding them, which is exciting.

Anyways, lots of ideas to explore. I don't really know why my ds, who has the diagnosed and very blatant, very obvious SLD, does so much better in some ways than my dd. For math facts, he's actually better. For procedures, yeah he's struggling. I just keep focusing on doing it in lots of situations, lots of ways, attaching meaning to everything.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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On a side note, despite years of effort, I don't have a lot of my math facts memorized but I successfully run the finances for the family business as well as handling our personal finances.  Understanding the why behind the numbers has been way more important than having my math facts memorized.

My husband does not have all of his math facts memorized, is dyslexic and dysgraphic and struggled terribly with math in elementary but is a very successful engineer dealing with numbers all day long.  Understanding the numbers was far more important to him than memorizing math facts.

Local nurse friend of mine has never been able to memorize her math facts but she is a very successful nurse and teaches nursing classes.  She deals with a lot of numbers and lives are often on the line.  Understanding the concepts and being able to logic her way through numbers was way more important to her career than memorizing math facts.

DD has some facts down now but many she still struggles with despite years of effort.  Understanding how to manipulate the numbers and using math charts and skip counting and other tools has helped her to become much faster at math and to gain better understanding of the math she is doing.  Those things have been far more effective than just continuing to bang her head against the math fact memorization wall.

While memorizing math facts is certainly immensely helpful, not having those math facts memorized is not the end of the world.  Understanding the why behind those numbers and how to manipulate and change those numbers and how to break them apart and reassemble them again is more important, IMHO, than memorizing.  I'm not saying stop trying.  I'm just saying it isn't the end of the world if they can't.  Find ways to keep working on learning the math facts while also actively pursuing other tools to add to their tool box to help get over this hump if memorizing is never possible.

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I was looking to post the same question.... but my student is almost 14. He doesn't have his math facts memorized (even addition!). He mostly eventually gets it right, but is just bogged down.

He did RightStart, so know strategies. We did the card games. I at some point added in Xtramath. He played Timez Attack. He used a sheet with the multiples on them for work.

Rightstart basically says that even if they don't memorize them, they will get to the point where they can get it in 3 seconds or less with the strategies.... well at times my son is sitting there for 10 to 20 seconds trying to get the answer. Very frustrating for something like 8+3.....

He is getting bogged down and I don't know how to help him. He knows how to do it... but it just takes so long.

My dh says that he (my dh) sees the numbers as shapes in his head (with the quantity so maybe 3 is 3 dots in a triangle or something) ... and to add 2 numbers he has to combine the shapes, so it was very hard for him).

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

Have you tried Ronit Bird?  If not, I would look at Ronit Bird and see if anything speaks to you.  Not being able to add 8+3 without significant brain effort really IS very frustrating.  I will admit that while I can do it, I'm not as fast as many people.  I have to break up the numbers in my head into 8+2=10+1=11.  I don't automatically know that 8+3=11 just by looking.  Maybe your son has weak subitization skills and cannot even break the number up that way.  Ronit Bird will help with that.

Could he do basic addition/subtraction on a number line fairly quickly?

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Yeah, if 8+3 is where they're at, Dots would do it and be under \$10. Her printed book Overcoming Math Difficulties is a good starting point for an older dc. It's going to review the basics VERY quickly. I'm a huge fan of Dots honestly, like huge. Who knows what kind of strange rocket science could happen!

But I'd definitely be doing some cognitive therapy work too, to see if things can click and stick better. Working memory, RAN/RAS, retrieval. TTL has RAN/RAS work included. That's part of what glitches my dd up so much, that the low processing speed and weak retrieval make it hard to get even what you have. If the person is not on meds for their ADHD, that can help.

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Ronit Bird and Singapore methods.

Edited by Heathermomster
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This came up on the High School forum and I thought I would pass it along...

https://lagunita.stanford.edu/courses/Education/EDUC115-S/Spring2014/about

That's interesting. Notice how much they're mentioning language. That whole thing with talking about the math was HARD for my dd. She's straight ADHD, no SLD diagnoses, but wicked processing speed and word retrieval. For her to process the math (ugh), retrieve the words (ugh), remember what she was thinking in her head (ugh), and then hold a conversation about it or explain the steps out loud was HARD!!!

We finally gave up on math involving language. It really depends on how much you can get up that working memory and word retrieval (typically low in dyslexics) to bring it into reach. We used cards with steps and allowed her to point to the names for the steps for her explanations. Or I would scribe for her (becoming her working memory, getting it visual) so she could then talk about it.

You also have the executive function of sequencing the steps. Man geometry was fun with her.  :lol:

I may just be getting wistful, as her stage is ending.  :rolleyes:

Edited by OhElizabeth
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What exactly IS Ronit Bird?  I was thinking it was more for dyscalculia.

This is primarily for my 8 YO.  I think my 11 YO mostly has hers memorized.  She did do CLE last year and I think that was helpful...or maybe she just finally got up to the number of repetitions necessary to memorize them.

Shedid Saxon 1st-3rd and that has daily facts practice sheets, and we did facts practice with Calculadder and some computer program that I can't remember the name of every summer besides and she still didn't entirely get them down.  The 8 YO probably won't do CLE, at least not anytime soon...I think the number of pages would frustrate him, and he's very math-y and doesn't need that amount of repetition.  He understands concepts just fine and has no trouble adding and subtracting in his head, and multiplying to some degree also.  I just think it would be helpful for him to memorize the facts if he can and not have to figure it out each time even if it doesn't take him too terribly long to do it, and I think a picture method would help him get them down if there is such a thing.

We used it in the past, but Timez Attack appears to only be available through a school purchase now...for \$5000/year.

nm

Edited by Guest
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Have you looked at Times Tales? There are several products like that. Rainbow probably carries them. I found one through the library years ago to try with dd.

To get a visual method to work, you have to have someone who is ready to visual (yes), and who has reasonable, age-appropriate visual memory (yes). My dd's visual memory, unbeknownst to us, was very, very poor, and the story/picture version I got didn't work. But I can totally see where, for the dc who has those skills, it would be stellar.

And yes, RB is specifically for dyscalculia, if he can do the math and do the subitization and just needs to get stuff into his long-term memory, then you can work on it visually, work on his working memory, etc. Given his significant ADHD, the low working memory might be holding him back. Of course, I'm saying that, and he's banging out Barton 4, yes? That's some pretty good working memory there, if he's holding those letters in his head and writing and doing B4. So yeah, go for the visualization.

Do you know how to google site search? You put the terms plus site:welltrainedmind.com into your google bar. So you could try "Times Tales site:welltrainedmind.com" and it would give you top hits for threads where people have discussed Times Tales. Then you could see what people thought of it and whether there was something people liked BETTER. :D

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Ronit Bird is a tutor from England that works with any student who might struggle. Your children are young, but her book Overcoming Difficulty with Number is very good.  She teaches several strategies for solving math facts.

Weirdly, after working with DS and his struggles, I applied RB's methods with my DD starting when she was potty training.  I used to sit across from DD and flash dominoes at her while she told me the correct numbers.  We went from that to complements of 5 and 10.  We also used 10 trays that I printed and laminated.  DD and I built up to three digit numbers using MUS blocks and a dice.  My DD is a whiz-bang at mental math.

I wish I has known about RB when my son was younger.  She discusses all of the pre-skills for multiplication.  Using her methods by late 5th grade, my DS fully learned the multiplication facts in about 6 weeks.  It was crazy.  Anyhoo...He practiced the facts throughout the 6th grade so that he would not forget them.  RB teaches a method of mental math called Bridging which is awesome.

The Singapore PrimaryGrade 3 HIGs introduce long division.  How I wish I had used that when DS was younger!

Edited by Heathermomster

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