BerkswichCE Primary School

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How can I help my child to learn the times tables?

Walk...and then fly!


Thank you!


Firstly, thank you for working in partnership with us to support your child. Time spent at home and at school is always the best way for children to make lasting progress. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for resources - and the times tables answers, which we know that many find useful to print off. 


2,4,6…counting is the key to times tables practice in KS1 and KS2


Counting will often start before beginning to develop greater understanding and reasoning skills, but will continue long after, until all times tables can be counted through sequentially and at speed. For example, check that your child can count up in 5s in order up to 12x5 (i.e., 5,10,15,20,25...). 


Start by counting concrete items


Ensure counting in 2s begins with concrete manipulatives (visual equipment), such as shoes, socks, hands, etc. before moving on to using counters or other manipulatives. Use objects to  make it more fun; for example, try counting up in 5s using 5p coins. Count high fives between family members, etc. Counting out loud in steps will help to familiarise your child with the multiples for each times table (i.e., the multiples of 5 are 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.).


Whenever starting children counting in a new amount, such as counting in 8s, children should be given the opportunity to see visually what that looks like. In this case, lego bricks with eight dots on the top laid out are a great way to reinforce multiples of eight. 


Don’t be afraid of chanting the times tables


Some chanting is inevitable when developing counting, initially alongside equipment and pictorial representations (like cheerios laid out in rows of four for the 4x table). Children can then move quickly to chanting: ‘3 times 7 is 21, 4 times 7 is 28,’ etc. 


As children progress through school, they learn to represent numbers in different ways; for example, a counter could represent 1, 2, 5, or 10. Once children are secure with this, fingers can be used to count quickly in any multiplication table - each finger represents the next multiple. 


How to teach instant recall of times tables


Not all children will need the suggested structure below; however, it will help those who struggle to convert the quick counting described above into instantly recallable facts.


The example is for the 6 times table but the principle can be applied to any times table.


Teaching 6 Times Table step by step


  1. Fire just 1 x 6, 2 x 6, 5 x 6, 10 x 6 at them first. This will build up on their most secure existing table facts
  2. Add in 3 x 6, 4 x 6 when step 1 is frequently recalled correctly and instantly
  3. Build up with 6 x 6, 7 x 6, 8 x 6
  4. When looking at 9 x 6, 11 x 6 and 12 x 6, children should initially look at finding 10 x 6 and adjust
  5. Encourage your child to remember what the last 2 numbers were in the sequence they learnt (66, 72)
  6. Ensure that you are asking the times tables out of order too, otherwise you may find that they are listing multiples and not connecting these with the related fact (i.e., 3x5).
  7. Add in related division facts. For some children, this step can be integrated from step 1 onwards. For others, they will need time to develop recall of multiplication facts first before adding this in.


When giving children quick fire questions to recall, particularly in the early stages of each multiplication table, ensure they are given the opportunity to see the calculation rather than just hear it.


If your child is clearly working them out by counting through each time, return to number one on the suggestions above. It is always better to learn a few well then all of them not well - this sort of learning doesn't stick. 


That said, it will probably continue to be the case that tables learnt will drop off a little. Remember to return to those previously tackled. Why not use the games or Times Table Rock Stars from the main menu to enable your child to revisit and rehearse those already covered. 


Display times times tables around your home


Counting sequences can be highly visible everywhere! Pop a post-it note on each stair in your house - ‘6, 12, 18…’ - and encourage your child to chant the full fact as they step ('1 times 6 is 6, 2x6 is 12...'). Ask your child's trickiest one every time they get in the car. Create rhymes or stories around them - the more talk there is, the more opportunities for children to retain the fact. 


Supporting your child who is finding retention of facts a challenge


Children learn in different ways. If your child is finding it challenging to retain facts or start to memorise these, please speak further with your child's teacher. It is important that we work in partnership to ensure that your child is learning the times tables appropriate for them. Practising for just a few minutes a day, is often a more beneficial approach. Using visual examples as noted above are also very important and this stage may need more repetition to moving on to learning the facts alone.


Does your child already know their times tables to 12 x 12?


Does your child need the next challenge? Ensure that all facts are known as divisions at high speeds and out of order. A polite word of warning...please do check that your child retains facts over time. When facts are learnt quickly, you may find that they drop off a little. This is not unusual. Can you carry out top-up two minute sessions to combat 'drop-off'?


Why not try taking the next step in order to rehearse times tables in a different context. For example, you could ask questions such as the ones in the grid below. It is definitely worth checking with your teacher first as you may find that they have not moved on to decimals in their year group yet. 



Please remember that your teacher is always there to answer any questions that you may have. 

Useful times table grids: questions and answers from Third Space maths