Kathy Richardson’s New Book (Review)

I’ve just finished reading Kathy Richardson’s new book (I wrote about it in my last post) and I have to say I love it!  When I look at the current Common Core standards for Math, the idea of making my K students master addition and subtraction facts to five floors me!  It is not a developmentally appropriate practice for 5 and 6 year old children to memorize math facts unless they have a definite handle on the number concepts and what Kathy calls the “critical learning phases”. Throughout the chapters, Kathy discusses the process that children go through to develop number concepts and what the critical phases are that must be learned before the next critical phase can happen.   She shares that although we can make children memorize facts, it is completely useless to their future math development because children need to work through the critical learning phases on their own.  If they cannot understand that 3 is three and 4 is four and demonstrate their understanding in several ways, then children will not be able to apply that to math operations later on.  Kathy makes it clear that children must go through these phases and that children can not be forced into them, some children will understand them more quickly than others and progress through them more quickly than others, but we cannot as teachers force their understanding along.

This would be a great book for a PLC or book study to help understand how children learn and develop number concepts!

Kristen 🙂

About Kristen Poindexter

I am the 2014 National Shell Science Teacher, 2014 PAEMST Awardee for Science, and a Kindergarten teacher who blogs about my adventures in teaching!

Posted on March 17, 2012, in Kathy Richardson, Math. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I totally get what you’re saying! My district has our kindergarteners recite math facts by rote!!! I will give them a tiny shout of kudos that at least it is set to a song. But. . . really? They say that memorizing these is no different than memorizing the ABC’s. Really???? To me, learning to recite 2+4=6 is just as abitrary as reciting “G+B=M!” There are other components to the program that are supposed to develop their number sense concurrently, but still. . . .I get really tired of trying to teach kids stuff that is just so not developmentally appropriate. Uggghh.


  2. I am going to put this book on my summer reading list. I , too, struggle daily with what is developmentally appropriate for kindergarteners and what my curriculum/ state standards insist I teach. NJ just adopted a new kindergarten curriculum which is direct contrast to my schools curriculum. Ugh.


  3. Agreed – and guiding children through those stages may be the hardest thing that many teachers do; not that it’s hard for the student (it isn’t) but hard for the Teacher because we always want children to learn ‘quickly’ (get out the flashcards! practice, practice!). My team has been using Richardson’s first 2 books this year; we’ve spent f-a-r longer on addition this year than the past several years put together. However, THIS year, because of all the Richardson-type activities we’re using, we really can see the developmental stages the children are at: instantly subitizing the dotted dice, conservation (or not) of sets, conservation of a numeral, adding on (or not), down to having to count (again and again) every single dot or object before arriving at a sum. We’ve enjoyed the year and are anxious to learn more and fine tune what we’ve learned for next year.


  4. Angela Mathias

    Thank you for your review of the book, I went to the website and looked at it. It looks great. Please continue to post and give advice on math activities as I will start teaching K after Easter vacation.


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