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Times Tables help - Groundhog day!

(13 Posts)
staffgirl68 Fri 14-May-10 21:12:43

My 10 year old dyslexic son is having huge problems with his times tables. We've been plugging away but he still only really knows the 2, 5 and 10s reliably. His teacher just says we need to keep getting him to recite them until they stick but this really isn't working. He's being put under pressure at school as they have an awards system in place which means all the kids know exactly how many/few you know. To progress through the awards they have to recite them verbally in front of the whole class, which is really demoralising for him when he then doesn't pass.

They know he's dyslexic but aren't willing to do anything much to help. We can't afford to go back to the psychologist we hired to formally assess him (school wouldn't contribute to the costs).

Does anyone have experience of other methods of learning times tables? As his memory is compromised clearly parrot fashion learning isn't working. One week he seems to have got it, then the next it's as though he's never seen it before.

hocuspontas Fri 14-May-10 21:21:36

Has he got a photographic memory? If so, a wall-chart grid that you read off across and down might help. He could visualise the answer that way. It helped dd3. E.g. 7 x 8 she would remember where 7 across and 8 down intersected and visualise the answer. (If that makes sense!)

cornsillkwearsclogs Fri 14-May-10 21:26:04

this book is useful. Can he use a xtales square in class? You can buy little flexible ones to put in his pencil case here.

cornsillkwearsclogs Fri 14-May-10 21:26:34

x tables square !

staffgirl68 Fri 14-May-10 21:59:24

Thanks for that. This is the first time I've posted here and the speed of responses is amazing! I'll certainly order that book. He doesn't seem to have a photographic memory as far as I can tell, but I'll see if I can get a wall chart in the form of a grid. And for doing the test he's not allowed to use anything to prompt him.

I have to say I feel extremely frustrated on his behalf at the lack of support and understanding that we seem to be encountering. If only the curriculum could be delivered via something interactive I'm sure he'd do much better! It's extraordinary how much detail he can remember of films he has seen for example, although they're not even truly interactive. Thanks again.

hocuspontas Fri 14-May-10 22:03:53

How about any of these games?

cornsillkwearsclogs Fri 14-May-10 22:16:33

He should not be made to recite his x tables btw - as I'm sure you know as his mum, a weak working memory is common among children/adults who suffer from dyslexia. His teacer clearly knows very little about the difficulties faced by pupils with dyslexia. angry

mummytime Sun 16-May-10 07:44:46

I could never recite my tables and got a very good A'level in Maths.
There is an american book which I have found helpful google search on "Times Tales". It makes up stories about the tables which helps fix them in the memory.
I would also point out to his teacher that she is discriminating against his disability (I hate that word but under the act dyslexia counts). You could even remind her of the DDA. Does she make him read out loud in class? Does she line the children in order of their marks each week? Then why humiliate them in this way?

At secondary school we sometimes do tests, and I might ask hands up for those who got 10, then 7, but I wouldn't get those who got 2 or 0 to identify themselves to the class.

Can your son do multiplication in questions btw? I was quite good at working them out and used a lot of the "What to do when you can't learn your times tables" techniques, having worked them out myself. Does he understand what multiplication is? Does he have other maths problems?

good luck.

staffgirl68 Mon 17-May-10 20:04:48

Thanks mummytime and cornsilkwearsclogs. I have to say I am unhappy about the public way the scores are shared, but the school views it as a way of encouraging the kids to do their best. Not how I'd do it and we are thinking about moving him. But I have very little confidence that it'd be much different anywhere else. Ironically his reading skills are higher than his chronological age which I think is why they are not taking it all very seriously. But then when you look at the full range of his test scores when he was assessed for dyslexia he has other areas where he has very significant problems. His spelling is very poor and he finds it very difficult to get anything much down on paper. He was graded as being in the severe category for dyslexia.

He does have other maths problems too which I understand as being linked with his dyslexia. His working memory is compromised so when doing a sum that has several steps to it, by the time he's got to step 2, he has forgotten the answer to step 1. He has difficulties sequencing things and there are some large gaps in his basic understanding of numbers. But what do I know?! I have given the school a copy of his very comprehensive assessment along with the recommendations the Ed Psych made but it seems to have made little difference to how they think about children with this kind of difficulty, let alone perhaps actually change their teaching methods.... I do understand that they have a whole class full of children to teach, but given that I think the stats for dyslexia now is 1:10, you'd have thought they would be trying to teach in a more inclusive way.

Oh well - we can only keep trying and I'll certainly have a look for that times tales book. I guess my job is to keep his self-esteem up while we're finding a way through this all.

goinggetstough Tue 18-May-10 15:34:42

There is a thread currently on Primary Education http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/931777-Helping-learning-times-tables that discusses a variety of ways to learn times tables. Not all of them will be suitable for your son but hopefully one might be. I have a dyslexic son so I know what you are going through. He loved doing computer games so we found CDs that used times tables. He is now 16 so I can't personally recommend any. Eventually he got them but he still couldn't recite them! Good luck.

hendo2 Thu 20-May-10 20:07:55

Early Learning centre has a cd called times table challenge. Lots of catchy songs, raps etc for chanting then some games where the answers were missed out. Used it with my class lots and they love it.

Dolfin Fri 21-May-10 19:35:06

we used "times tales" - it was a major break through! our ds has a working memory on the 1st centile - so any times tables were a nightmare including 1,2,5,10 - he lost all confidence. He is a visual learner and found this pack easy to learn - so he is now secure in the upper 3,4,6,7,8,9 times tables and still struggles with his 2,5 times tables - but he is willing to have a go now. The web site is www.triggermemorysystem.com

TeacherHelen Sat 27-Nov-10 00:18:58

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

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