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 JULY 2004

Nimble Numeracy: Fluency in Counting & Basic Arithmetic—Oxton House Publishers

Some children have difficulty with basic arithmetic simply (but not obviously) because they don’t understand our number language. They don’t automatically see how the word patterns reflect what the numerals mean. Many children who have difficulty reading fluently also have great difficulty memorizing the basic arithmetic facts. Many of them also have trouble becoming fluent with our counting system. This often results in slow learning of arithmetic concepts, slow processing of arithmetic problems, and inaccurate computations, even when they know the algorithms.

Nimble Numeracy is an excellent supplement to any elementary mathematics curriculum for students who need help becoming fluent with the language of counting or with the operations of basic arithmetic. It explains how to teach our counting system, how to work with the base-ten place-value system, and how to teach the four basic arithmetic operations. In its approach to counting, this book develops a solid understanding of the concepts underlying this system. It interweaves teaching activities for regrouping that help children master efficient ways to add and subtract large numbers. It extends these ideas to an understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction and between multiplication and division, and from there to a sense of how simple fractions work.

A major emphasis is on developing fluent use of the language needed for working in these areas and for communicating with other people about these skills and concepts. Its strategies foster a clear understanding of the base-ten numeration system and place-value concepts, areas that the NCTM Standards 2000 document calls “absolutely essential” for the mathematics of the early grades.

The activities presented in this book are easy to do with individuals, small groups, or whole classrooms of students. Only very basic materials are needed for the activities and, other than ordinary things to count, displays of the required materials are included in the book for photocopying by any teacher, parent, or tutor.

Dr. Phyllis Fischer, the book’s author, is known for her knowledge on how children learn. She is currently a Professor of Learning Disabilities at the University of Maine at Farmington. She has embraced the needs of students and the educators who work with them for over 30 years. Beginning as a third grade teacher in Hopkins, Minnesota, Dr. Fischer’s career has progressed to include supervision of a clinic for children with learning disabilities, serving as a school consultant for students with special academic needs, teaching at the university level for over 25 years, and conducting professional presentations nationwide on fluency in reading, math, handwriting, and reading comprehension.#