Times tables play an important part in Numeracy. They are needed across the Numeracy curriculum from fractions to chunking, to multiplication and beyond. I’ve seen children who are confident with a method, for example chunking, but have got the wrong answer simply because they do not know their tables. Helping children to feel secure with their times tables can really help to increase confidence in Numeracy.

However, learning tables is not just about the multiplication facts as children also need to know the division facts (known as the inverse) that go hand in hand with each fact. According to the new curriculum, children need to be confident in the multiplication and division facts up to 12 x 12 by the end of year four. For each times table, there are two multiplication facts and two division facts known as a fact family.

e.g.

5 x 2 = 10          2 x 5 = 10          10 ÷2 = 5          10 ÷ 5 = 2

By learning the fact family for each times table, it helps children to see the relationship between multiplication and division. It also means they are learning other times tables at the same time. For example, in the above fact family a child may be working on their two times table but they have also learnt 2 x 5.

Learning tables at home:

• Focus on one set of times tables at a time (Each school can be slightly different but normally tables are learnt in the following order: 2, 5, 10, 3, 4, 8, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12)
• Learn the multiplication facts in order e.g. 1 x 2, 2 x 2, 3 x 2 …
• Learn the multiplication facts in a random order e.g. 2 x 2 , 7 x 2, 5 x 2, 9 x 2
• Learn the division facts by using a fact family for each table (see above example)
• Practise the multiplication and division facts at speed in a random order

Remember the aim is for your child to be able to answer a times table question (multiplication or division fact) in less than 5 seconds. This means that children cannot rely on counting up on their fingers. They need to know the facts off by heart, which takes lots of practice!

See my blog post on making times table learning fun for some inspiration!