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Thursday 4 August 2011

Review: Tilly's Tables Multiplication Cards

We at KBR love anything that can help children learn and these brand new times table flashcards are just the ticket for skills in numeracy. Tilly's Tables features 11 characters and a series of short stories that create a 'number image' in children's minds, making multiplication tables easier to remember.

Tilly’s Tables was first developed in 1999 by Jane Hague whilst home educating her children. Jane realised her children were having difficulty learning the multiplication tables in the conventional way. They understood number concept and patterns but seemed to have difficulty remembering and recalling the information quickly.

When Jane was in primary school, her father taught her to remember the spelling of some words using mnemonics, for example:

The word because can be remembered with the following mnemonic: Big Elephants Cause Accidents Under Small Elephants.

Later, when studying biology, Jane was required to remember the name of bones in the human body. To remember there are two bones in the lower part of the leg, she coined the nickname 'the pussy cat bones', Tibia and Fibula (and of course, cats like to rub against your lower legs).

Jane wondered if similar techniques could be employed for multiplication tables and started using pictures and short stories to engage her children's imagination and help then more easily retain tables learned.

Tilly’s Tables was born. This series of cards uses a number image system and visual and auditory memory hooks based on the universally acclaimed mnemonics technique. The number image system creates a tangible image of the multiplication table in the minds eye of children.

 Oh - and it's fun.

The front of each card contains an image and the times table in question:

9 x 9

Nun 9 is running into the chapel. Sister 9 asks her why. Nun 9 replies, "It's time for prayers and I don't want to be a late nun."

9 x 9 = 81
Late nun

On the reverse side of each card, the times table is repeated along with grouped numbers... 9 rows of 9 are presented visually as 9 rods.

There are 132 laminated cards in the set, which come in a hardy tin. Included are quick start instructions, guiding parents and teachers how to best effect a positive outcome. There is also a complementary website - www.tillystables.com - with a free members area for extra info.

If you're anything like me, who sang and danced their way through multiplication tables with her children, you'll love this creative educational take. Forget the draconian learn-by-rote route... kids will have loads more fun with this system, and are far more likely to retain information learned with visual and audio queues.

See the the website for more.

Title: Tilly's Tables
Author: Jane Hague
Publisher: 123 Number Fun, $24.95 RRP
Format: Cards in a tin box
Publication Date: 1 August 2011
ISBN: 9780980673708
For ages: 6-12
Type: Educational Resource