Using a Mnemonic Method is by far the fastest and most effective way for kids to memorize the times tables.
The word “amazing” is probably the best way I can describe how this system works! If you haven’t tried mnemonics, you need to, as it is by far the fastest and most effective way to memorize ANYTHING – even multiplication tables.
Disclosure: This post was written by a member of the Trigger Sisters’ team – founders of Times Tales, Pet Math and the Kids Chore Chart. The article is written from the perspective of a Times Tales customer who submitted a testimonial.
How my Boys FINALLY Conquered their Multiplication Tables
I am a homeschool mom of 2 very bright boys. Schoolwork was not anything they particularly struggled in, that is, until we got to learning the times tables. We started with the standard process of learning the concept of multiplication first. Once they had the concept down, it was time for the drills. The flashcards seemed to go fairly well, until we got to the upper multiplication facts. If they got stuck on the lower math facts, they could easily revert back to addition to come up with the answer. However, once we got to the upper times tables (6×7, 7×7, 9×8, etc.) it was just a guessing game. Adding up seven groups of seven is not so easy unless your name happens to be Rain Man.
Fast Forward 1 Week Later into our Times Tables Learning Adventure…
We were still doing drills!! It seemed like one endless flashcard after another. I kept thinking they finally had them memorized, until the next day, they would give me this blank deer-in-the-headlight stare when they were supposed to spout off the answer. I was beginning to think we would be working on these times tables until they entered college. I’m no brain expert, but one thing was for sure, whatever part of the brain they were using to “memorize” the facts, was not working correctly!
How Pictures and Stories Made the Times Tables Finally Stick!
I was desperate to find a solution to this multiplication nightmare that both my boys (and myself) seemed to be in. I started searching terms like, “my kids can’t learn their times tables, help!” and discovered that this struggle to memorize times tables is not uncommon and that I wasn’t alone. I felt like I had just found a village that would embrace me and hopefully send me on the right path. Fortunately, I came across some other moms posting threads talking about how mnemonics are the best system for memorization. Did you know that medical students have been using this way to memorize difficult terms for years? Why aren’t schools teaching this?!? But I digress, mnemonics are basically a memory trick that acts like a peg in the brain to recall information. For some reason, children seeing squiggly texts on a white piece of paper (or flashcard) is not enough stimuli for the brain to want to keep that information stored long term. The effect of the brain hitting the “delete” button results in children remembering one day, and forgetting the math facts the next. However, when the numbers are converted into a silly story that children can have some type of reaction or connection to (ie; thinking it’s goofy, or dumb, or would never happen) – voila! – they remember!! The amazing thing is they remember weeks and months later. Seeing how mnemonics work in action is truly an amazing process to watch. It’s kind of like a magic trick of the brain.
Times Tales was How my Boys Conquered the Times Tables Mountain!
There are a handful of mnemonic programs on the market. After reading through many reviews, the one I found that was most popular, is Times Tales. This program is different in that it only focuses on the facts that have to be memorized, the upper times tables. The system is broken down into Part 1 and Part 2. The first part focuses on: 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 4×6, 4×7, 4×8, 4×9. The second part teaches 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9, 7×7, 7×8, 7×9, 8×8, 8×9, 9×9. The answer to the lower facts can always be computed by reverting back to basic addition to find the answer if the child gets stuck, and now these crucial upper tables now have a system through Times Tales to recall the answer. So basically, ALL the times tables can be conquered through using the “tools” of addition and the mnemonic trigger.
Visual Math: Turning Numbers into Characters for Fast Recall
Each number is turned into a number symbol character. For example, the number seven, is Mrs. Week because there are 7 days in a week. The number 9 is treehouse because its shape looks like a nine.
Times Tales teaches a “tale” or a story for each of the combination of numbers, or times tables. For example, when the student sees the math fact, 7×9, they would think of the story that had Mrs. Week (7) and the treehouse (9). This in turn would trigger the story (which kids for some reason DO NOT forget these stories) which was, “Mrs. Week went to the Treehouse to rake up 6 bags of leaves by 3 o’ clock.” The answer is hiding in each tale – this case being 63. It really is that simple, and like I said, children do not forget their times tables by using this amazing mnemonic method.
If you would like to learn more about the Times Tales program you can visit the official website at: www.TimesTales.com. There are also lots of videos on youtube from parents showing their children using the system. If you have kids struggling with this area, I’d say give it a try. Times Tales also has a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, so it’s no risk to try.