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Post a message or simply read what others have written and answered. Rachel, a RightStart™ Math user and one of our customer care people, will be monitoring this forum. She will respond to your questions as needed.

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mental addition

I have a 9 year old who is struggling to add some 1 and 2 digit numbers mentally and wants to use her abacus. Do I stay on the same lesson until she is proficient or do I keep going? We are using Level C second edition. Thanks

Re: mental addition

Hi, Pamela! My name is Rachel.

Some kids take a bit longer to 'figure out' mental math. I wouldn't necessarily hold your daughter back until she is proficient with mental math - unless she is completely not getting the concepts behind the mental math, ie. how to add '9' to a number or how to add '8' to a number, etc. If she understands the 'how', but is just struggling putting it together in her head, then continue moving on.

In the meantime, you will want to help your daughter learn how to 'think' mental math and provide her step by step guidance. For example, if you are working on adding '9 + 46' you will first want to write the equation on the board. Then start by asking her questions like, 'What strategy would you use to add these two numbers together?' If she doesn't know, then continue by asking, 'What number is close to '9' that is easy to add to numbers? (10). Great! What would be the answer if you add '10 + 46'? (56) Perfect! Now, we are not actually adding '10' we are adding only '9', so what would that answer be? (55).

By giving your daughter a step-by-step process of how to think, you will help her get to the point of independently doing mental math. You will want to do an equation or two every day during the Warm-Up time of the lessons. It is OK for her to use or look at the AL Abacus while you are teaching how to do mental math. I would recommend that as much as possible, have her look at the abacus, but NOT move the beads. This will help develop a mental picture of the abacus in her head which will also help with mental math.

I hope that helps! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to repost here or email RightStart Math directly at

Have a great day!