Introducing Two Digit Addition

When a child starts learning to add two digit numbers, it can seem overwhelming to both the parents and the child. After all, it is a completely new concept for most children. They have been adding single digit numbers in probably many ways – using objects to count, adding on a number line, or even using their fingers. But when they begin adding two digit numbers, most of those strategies are no longer practical. So how do you introduce two digit addition in a way that will give your child the confidence they need to master this skill? Here are some helpful hints.

Use Pictures or Manipulatives

When you introduce two digit addition, you should still begin with hands on activities. Find a set of place value blocks that include small one pieces and longer ten pieces. Then divide a paper into an addition tens and ones frame. Have your child use the place value blocks to make one number on the top section and the second number on the bottom section. Then your child can count up the ones section and the tens section and write down the answers. This allows them to see the process in action as they are learning this new skill.

Model, Model, Model

Another way to help your child understand this concept is to show them the process over and over again. Find pages of examples and go through them with your child. You can do them while your child watches and talk through each step that you take. Then, let your child try a problem or two while you continue to talk through the steps. Next, have your child solve another problem while he explains the steps to you. The more your child sees the correct order, the more they will remember it.

Emphasize Adding the Ones Place First

One thing that I cannot stress enough is to make sure that your child always adds the ones place before the tens place. It may not seem to matter at first, but it will be very important when you move on to addition with regrouping. If you catch your child adding the tens place first, I recommend having them erase the tens place answer. Then have them add the ones place before rewriting the tens place. Make sure they get in the habit of adding the ones place first.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The most important thing is to practice this skill repeatedly. Make up problem after problem for your child to solve. Just make sure they are practicing correctly so that they are not learning incorrect skills.

While introducing two digit addition may seem difficult and overwhelming, using these strategies can help your child succeed in this area. Have you used any of these tips to introduce two digit addition? What other advice do you have for teaching this skill?

Photo by:  Jimmie

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