• Rote counting is the power to recite numbers in order from memory. Essentially, it is how to count by saying numbers in order.
  • With rote counting, children aren’t “counting” objects; they’re saying numbers in the correct sequence. For example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30.
  • Rote counting is a foundational math skill taught in pre-k and kindergarten math.
  • Once children master how to count using rote counting, they can tackle more complex math concepts, like addition, subtraction, times tables, division, place value, and money.
  • Repetition is the key to mastering rote learning.

How is it different from rational counting?

Knowing how to count with rote counting is a little different than being able to count with rational counting. Rational counting is when children can allocate numbers to the objects they’re counting. With rational counting, the child is trying to determine the quantity. However, with rote counting, they’re demonstrating that they can recite numbers in order from memory.

Example of rational counting: Asking a child to count how many cookies are left in the cookie jar.

Example of rote counting: Asking a child to count from 1 to 10 from memory.

What is one-to-one correspondence?

One-to-one correspondence is a hands-on learning technique that teaches children to count groups of objects. With one-to-one correspondence, children learn how to trust by learning to assign just one number to each object, rather than relying on some things twice or missing other objects altogether.

Example of one-to-one correspondence: Asking a child to count building blocks by picking them out of a container, one by one.

Why is rote counting important?

Rote counting is essential in children’s math development and forms the foundation for learning more advanced and complex math concepts. Ask any math teacher, and they’ll tell you that learning how to count using rote counting is the bedrock of all math learning. Rote counting plays a vital role in helping children to:

  • understand numbers and quantities
  • memorize numbers in the correct order
  • master higher-level skills, like addition and subtraction
  • develop their overall number sense
  • become more confident in class
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