Thanks to TV shows like Sesame Street, many children enter preschool chanting or singing the number names from 1 to 20. Learning to count meaningfully requires both memorizing arbitrary terms or number names (rote counting) and rule-governed counting (rational counting). Rote recitation of the number words is not the same as having a good number sense for what 20, 25, or 100 means. Rational counting means a child’s ability to assign a number to the things that are being counted.

Copyright: Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.

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