Why in today’s day and age – with calculators and computers – do our kids really need to rote learn their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? Isn’t this just ‘old school’?

Math facts fluency refers to the ability to recall the basic facts in all four operations accurately, quickly and effortlessly. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, they have attained a level of mastery that enables them to retrieve them for long-term memory without conscious effort or attention.

So why focus on math facts?

Through automaticity students free up their working memory and can devote it to problem solving and learning new concepts and skills. Quite simply, a lack of fluency in basic math fact recall significantly hinders a child’s subsequent progress with problem-solving, algebra and higher-order math concept.

Math facts are important because they form the building blocks for higher-level math concepts. When a child masters his/her math facts, these concepts will be significantly easier and the student will be better equipped to solve them faster. If the child spends a lot of time doing the basic facts, he/she is more likely to be confused with the processes and get lost in their calculations.

In later elementary, students have longer and more complicated computations to complete to check their understanding of various concepts. At this stage, if a student does not have his/her math facts committed to memory, he/she will spend a disproportionate amount of time figuring out the smaller calculations and risk not completing the test. This not only affects their performance in math class, but will also in other subjects, such as science and geography.