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How to Teach the Times Tables Through Multiplication Songs

Many children unfortunately do not learn their times tables well. This results in the students falling behind and losing confidence in math - not because they do not understand concepts, but because they cannot keep up in class.

I have taught thousands of children the times tables. I have used flashcards, worksheets, computer games, activities and other drills. However the most enjoyable form by far has been music. Music is highly motivational, enjoyable and cool! It is a wonderful tool that can be combined with any other program you are using.

Music is a remarkable technique to help memorization skills - especially multiplication music!

It is essential to have the times tables memorized well. The melodies in music help the process of learning multiplication facts by facilitating the formation of memory associations. Music is full of rhythmic and melodic patterns which build additional math skills. Following along with the lyrics help to reinforce reading skills. Furthermore, your child has the opportunity to develop an appreciation of music and build music skills by being exposed to rhythm, pitch, melodies and composition.

The following guidelines will help ensure your child's success in learning the times tables is a breeze:

  • Explain that is a necessary requirement to have the times tables memorized so that you can quickly recall math facts in your head. Show your child or student an example of what "quick recall" is. Make it fun! Empathize that you also had to memorize all the facts. Maybe you need to review them as well and you can make the goal a team project.
  • Make sure your child understands what multiplication is. Take manipulatives and show them arrays, groups and the process of repeated addition.
  • Go through the tables so that they can see the patterns. Print off a times table chart. Look at similar tables like 2s, 4s and 8s; 3s and 6s; 5s and 10s etc. Look for and discuss similarities.
  • Discuss the importance of having the times tables memorized. Explain what speedy recall is. Demonstrate how fast they need to be able to recite math facts. Make this an exciting challenge.
  • Set some goals for learning the times tables. Start off with easier tables. Write down the table you still need to learn on flash cards so you can evaluate your accomplishments.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Play your songs. Sing along. Print off the lyrics and try to sing on your own. Combine all types of learning: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (i.e., using hand movements). Practice in the car. Play math games. Talk math! Every bit counts.
  • Add in a few fun activities and gimmicks to keep your lessons exciting. For example, learn the nines finger trick and the 6-10 finger trick. Create Napier Bones and discuss how they work. Make a multiplication Fortune Teller. Create a paper chain of the facts you already know and keep adding to it. Roll dodecahedron (12 sided dice). Post stickies of math facts up around the house or classroom to find. Play Munchie Math!
  • Practice each table afterwards by mixing up the facts to test your knowledge. Work on the facts you do NOT know.
  • Googol Power Math Series products Provide ample encouragement and don't give up! Memorization for some people takes longer. Learn a few memorization techniques to speed up the process.
  • Play your multiplication music afterwards to review, inspire and reinforce the facts previously learned. Periodic reviews are necessary to assure the facts remain in long term memory.

Afterwards, find word problems to build problems solving skills and to reinforce the new skills learned. Once the tables have been memorized, your child or students will be ready to move on easily to more exciting mathematical concepts that will help transform them into life-long learners.

Susan Jarema is the founder of Googol Learning, the Crazy 4 Math Contest,, New Earth Marketing and Kidzinfo. The Googol Learning Website has many free resources to inspire mathematics and family learning in your home through music, games, stories and layered learning.

This article may be reprinted with the above author credit and website link.