• Dr. Monica Cavender

Memorization vs. Fluency

Memorization vs Fluency

One goal of Zach’s Backpack is to help families see and experience fact fluency through games and conversions about strategic approaches about mathematics. The information provides parents with engaging approaches to practice facts at home, in the car, running errands and sharing time together talking about ideas around numeracy.

Five fundamentals in Fact Fluency (Bay-William & Kling, 2019)

Mastery Must Focus on Fluency. Parents need to understand that although we want every child to master basic facts, the way to reach this goal is by focusing on fluency, not rote memorization.

Fluency Develops in Phases. A major focus on fluency is applying strategies. Demonstration of these strategies, how they are applied and games to practice the application of strategies play a key role in fact fluency. Questions to ask to support the child’s thinking will be provided.

Foundational Facts Must Proceed Derived Facts. Since most adults come from a tradition of learning facts in order from least to greatest and have focused on primarily on counting and memorizing, it is critical to talk about the progression being used and why it is used.

Children need substantial and enjoyable practice. Practice at home is critical but should be meaningful and stress-free through games, strategy talk, and self-assessing progress.

Let’s Pause for a moment: You may be a bit skeptical at this point. Maybe you are great at math. Maybe it always came easy to you. Maybe memorization worked and the drill of numerous worksheets and timed tests lead to rewards like a gold star at the top of the sheet and good grades. OR maybe you are a bit resistant because math is not a subject you ever felt good at and the thought of smiling and having fun doing math is not comprehensible. I encourage you to stay with me and visit Zach’s Backpack games and pointers.

I’ve worked with hundreds of adults that were self-labeled “math phobes” as well as those who were “always good at math” types. BOTH will find value in the games and strategies at Zach’s Backpack. I think you will agree with me that we want more children to love math because they find the thinking, explaining and solving fun. We want them to smile and do math. We want them to grow to be adults where they are confident and good at problem solving. We all want this for our children. So please, join me in opportunities for family experiences that bring smiles, conversation and confidence for both children and adults.

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