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The Really Easy Way to Teach Multiplication Facts to Your Kids
The traditional methods to teach multiplication facts involve drilling. Drilling with flashcards, drilling with songs, drilling with apps, and drilling with worksheets. A game like Math War can take some of the pain out of learning multiplication facts but it's still a long frustrating process.
Thankfully there is an easy way to take some more of the pain out of learning. Rather than drilling this method uses mnemonic devices. And it does work. This method is called Times Tales.
Times Tales is a creative, innovative mnemonic-based program that makes it fun and easy to memorize the upper multiplication facts. Times Tales uses cute, simple stories to provide students with a "memory peg", allowing them to quickly recall otherwise abstract facts.
Times Tales DVD
How It Works
Here's an example of how it works. Kids get introduced to various characters. As an example, Mrs. Snowman represents 8. A chair represents 4. Mrs. Snowman stands on a chair to reach 3 buttons and 2 mittens. When kids are asked the answer to 8 x 4 they remember that 8 is Mrs. Snowman, 4 is the chair and she reached for 3 buttons and 2 mittens. This helps them learn that 8 x 4 = 32.
What shocked me is that it worked from day one with my 4th grader. Of course, you will need to review every day until your child can recall more quickly. You won't need to watch the full video or read the full book. I just did quick reviews of the stories and had my child go through the practice flashcards on the DVD. They also provide division facts and much to my surprise she was easily able to answer those as well.
The program comes in two parts. We spent a month learning and reviewing part one before moving onto part 2. Since the learning process is quite fast, there's no reason to rush onto the second part before part 1 is fully mastered.
What's Not Covered
Times Tales uses simple stories and characters to help kids remember the more difficult math facts. The 0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 11, and 12 facts aren't covered. Easier 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 facts aren't covered either. As an example, this method won't teach 2 x 7 = 14. But these facts are easier to remember anyway. So, some drilling with skip counting and learning facts will still be needed. But Times Tales will at least cover the more difficult facts like 3 x 7 and 4 x 9.
The 12 times tables aren't very hard to master either. Once a child has learned their 6 times tables teach them to double to find facts for 12. For example, 6 x 6 = 36. So, 12 x 6 is simply double that amount. With some quick addition a child will figure out that 12 x 6 = 72. But learning facts over 10 isn't hugely important anyway. A good grasp of facts up to 10 is enough to speed up the solving of both multiplication and division problems.
Times Tales is expensive at about $20-25. Expensive enough that it took me a while to finally decide to buy it. Based on all the positive reviews I gave it a chance. Not only did it work, I could see it was effective the first day we used it. We continue to review regularly but it's definitely taken a lot of the pain out of learning multiplication facts.