Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Multiplication Facts Help

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: How can we help our third-grader with multiplication facts? She has to use her fingers and count forward or backward each time. In order to pass third grade, she needs to do well on several timed multiplication tests. She gets excellent grades in her other subjects. Please help!

A: It is not unusual for children to have trouble learning the multiplication facts. Fortunately, you can help your daughter learn them if you are willing to work with her every day. To succeed, you will need to keep drill sessions short, review learned facts frequently, and not teach a new set of facts until your daughter has completely memorized the previous set. A fact is not considered learned until the response is three seconds or less.

Begin by making a set of multiplication flash cards with your daughter. Do not include the answers. If you teach the facts in some type of order, it will be easier for your child to learn them. Begin by working with the flash cards that have 1 as the first factor (1x1, 1x2, etc.) followed by those with 1 as the second factor. Next, go to the facts that have 2 as the first factor. Remind your daughter that these facts are equivalent to addition doubles, and then teach her the facts where 2 is the second factor.

Continue by having her learn the facts in which 5 is the first and second factor. The 4's can be taught with a double and double again approach. For example, for 4x3 and 3x4, double 3 is 6 and double again is 12. Continue finding patterns as you help your daughter learn different sets of facts.

Whenever your child doesn't know a fact, don't tell her the answer -- answers that come easy are not retained. Instead, show her how to find the answer. For example, if she doesn't know 3x4, have her draw 3 parallel horizontal lines and 4 parallel vertical lines that intersect the 3 horizontal lines. Then have her count the intersections to get the answer 12. She should also write out the problem. Good Luck!

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks