by: Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.
Is your child quizzed weekly on multiplication facts? Help her prepare with these tips.

It's not unusual for children to have trouble learning the multiplication facts. Fortunately, you can help if you're willing to work with your child every day. For the best results, keep drill sessions short, review learned facts frequently, and don't teach a new set of facts until your child has completely memrorized the previous set. Begin by doing the following:

1. Make a set of multiplication flash cards with your child. Do not include the answers on the cards.

2. Work with one set of multiplication facts at a time (2x1, 2x2, 2x3, 2x4 etc.).

3. Next, work with the set of multiplication facts that has 2 as a second factor (1x2, 2x2, 3x2, 4x2 etc.) Remind your child that these facts are equivalent to addition doubles.

4. In the next session, work with the 5x tables. Start with 5 as the first factor (5x1, 5x2, 5x3) and then tackle 5 as the second factor (1x5, 2x5, 3x5).

5. For some children, it helps to recognize patterns when they exist within each set of multiplication facts.

6. To help your child with her 4x tables, you can teach her the "double and then double again" approach. For example: 4x3=12 because double 3 is 6 and double again is 12; 4x4=16 because double 4 is 8 and double again is 16, and so on.

7. To help your child with his 9x tables, you can teach him the -1 approach. For example: 2x9 = 18 because 2-1 is 1 and 9-1 is 8; put them together and you get 18. Similarly, 3x9 = 27 because 3-1 is 2 and 9-2 is 7; put them together and you get 27. And again, 4x9 = 36 because 4-1 is 3 and 9-3 is 6; put them together and you get 36. And one more time: 5x9 = 45 because 5-1 is 4 and 9-4 is 5; put them together and you get 45.

When your child doesn't know a fact, don't tell her the answer -- answers that come easily are not retained. Instead, show her how to find the answer. For example, if she doesn't know 3x4, have her draw three parallel horizontal lines and four parallel vertical lines. Then have her count the intersections to get the answers.