# Ready, Set, Go: Why Fact Fluency Matters for Math Success

Jun 13, 2023So many times parents have said to me, “I want to help my child with math, but I have no idea where to start and I’m afraid I may do more harm than good.” However, what many parents forget is that there is something that they can help their child with that is not only sure to improve their math proficiency, but it's also something that is easy and won’t take much of your time each day–Math Fact Fluency.

##### What is Fact Fluency?

In the education realm, we hear that word *fluency* ALOT in relation to reading and math. Why? Because it's extremely important. Fluency refers to two main factors: accuracy and speed. When a child is reading, it doesn’t matter if they read every word on a page with 100% accuracy if it takes them too long to decode each word because by the time they get to the end of the page they will likely have no idea what the page was *about. *

The same logic applies to solving math problems. If students cannot quickly and accurately recall answers to basic math facts while working through a problem that requires multiple steps, they are likely to spend too much time counting on their fingers or drawing *way* too many tally marks on a piece of paper trying to figure out the answer to a math fact, that they skip or forget what step they need to do next.

##### Why Does It Matter?

Students should be able to quickly and accurately recall answers to multiplication and division facts *at least* through 10 by the beginning of 4th grade, (and I’m honestly very old school and think they should also go ahead and know through 12). When they don’t, what you typically see is 4th grade teachers supplying students with little multiplication and division fact cheat sheets to use as they begin to learn how to multiply and divide bigger numbers. Fourth grade teachers do not have the time to go back and make sure that each student knows their multiplication and division facts and hope that the repetition of using the little cheat sheets will help students learn them. Unfortunately, though, it usually doesn’t work this way. What does happen is that students become too reliant on them and reach a point in math when these are not allowed and then even bigger problems occur: they are back to spending too much time trying to figure out an answer to a math fact within a problem, and now in 5th and 6th grade, those problems are much longer *and* complex.

This doesn't only affect multiplication and division problems! When you think about all of the new math skills kids learn after 3rd grade, most of them will require that they know those multiplication and division facts:

- Fractions
- Decimals
- Factors & multiples
- Geometry, such as finding area, perimeter and volume
- Word problems of increasing complexity
- Order of operations
- Long Division
- Multiplication of 2-, 3- & 4-digit numbers (and beyond)
- And so many more!

##### How Can You Help Your Child with Fact Fluency?

Don’t let this happen to your child! You wouldn’t send them into a boxing ring without boxing gloves, would you? Don’t send them into 4th, 5th or 6th grade without making sure they *fluently* know their multiplication and division facts. Usually spending only about 10-15 minutes a day working on them will do the trick and summer break is a perfect time to revisit this skill. Please do your child a favor though and don’t exclusively have them use an app or website to help them memorize these facts. Grab some flashcards and prioritize time that *you* spend helping them as well. We have a great FREE Multiplication Practice Guide available that contains tips and tricks on helping your child learn their multiplication facts as well as flashcards. You can also download our FREE Multiplication Game Printable and make it more fun and meaningful!

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