"Salisbury" Sight Numbers

Help your kids remember the basic arithmetic facts!


My son's school teacher has her class working through lists of "Salisbury sight words".

He has a booklet with a bunch of lists of common words. The first list has words like the and a, with later lists moving on to less common words, like them, because and so forth.

The way it works is like this.

  • Every day, I'll ask him to read the words in one list.
  • For each word he gets correct, without hesitating, I give a tick. For each one he gets wrong, I write a dot.
  • When he's got a word right five times in a row, he no longer has to practice it.
  • When he can read, without hesitating, most of the words in a list, we start the next list
I thought this was a great idea, a good supplement to phonetics. Then I thought...
Why not apply this to math concepts?

After all, he understands perfectly well what addition and subtraction mean. But if I ask him what 8+3 is, he still has to use his fingers. Surely, I want him to just "know" that 8+3 is 11, without having to think about it?

So I made up a set of lists for addition and subtraction. You can use them too!

  • If you are a parent, you'll need to spend about 5 minute a day with your child. Make it part of your daily routine. Choose the part of the day when you are most relaxed - before bedtime? Over breakfast? Just after school?
  • If you are a teacher, you could introduce this exercise to the parents or caregivers of the kids in your class. Write up an introduction explaining how it works, and ask the kids to bring the lists to school each day so you can monitor their progress.
Anyway, here are the lists I prepared for my son, ready for you to use too : Now, every day, in addition to the Salisbury Sight Words list, we go through a "Salisbury" Sight Numbers list too! These lists work well for him, because he loves to compete against himself to see if he can do better today than he did yesterday... and also because I heap praise and encouragement on him for every bit of progress he makes!

Hope you find this useful!

Yours, Dr Mike...

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