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Learning to count: Structured practice with spatial cues supports the development of counting sequence knowledge in 3-year-old English-speaking children

Research Findings: Children who speak English are slower to learn the counting sequence between 11 and 20 compared to children who speak Asian languages. In the present research, we examined whether providing children with spatially relevant information during counting would facilitate their acquisition of the counting sequence. Three-year-olds (n = 54) who played a 1-20 number board game in which numbers were grouped by decade into 2 rows learned significantly more of the counting sequence than children who played a linear version of the game or those who were in the control group. Both the row and linear versions of the game helped children improve their performance on an object counting task. Children's performance on a number line task did not show an effect of either game intervention. Practice or Policy: These results suggest that counting practice that includes spatially informative cues can facilitate young English-speaking children's learning of the challenging number sequence from 11 to 20. (author abstract)
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