When I taught first grade, I always tried to work with my students to help them learn their phone number. I thought it was a good skill for them to learn at that age and worried about them getting lost and not knowing how to contact their parents.
At the time I used 2 different methods to help teach them because my 3rd method wasn’t available back then.
Over the years we’ve used 3 methods of teaching the girls their phone number and all 3 have been successful.
I think most things are learned easier by song. Singing he phone works because a song can be fun to sing and it becomes catchy.
What this looks like:
In grade school I sang the song 867-5309 a million times. (True story: a girl at my school had that phone number and her family received so many calls to their house that they needed to change their phone number.) To teach the girls we put our own phone number to the same tune. It was a little harder because our state uses an area code to dial all phone numbers, but it still helped them to learn. Have fun and get creative with it. Sing it at the top of your lungs, add a dance to it, or sing it to the tune of their favorite song. Repetition, and the fact that it’s fun, will help them remember it.
Teaching a phone number in chunks works well because smaller parts are easier to remember.
What does this look like:
Say the first 3 digits of the phone number and have your child repeat them. Stick with just repeating these 3 digits until your child can say them when you ask. This may take a minute, few days, or weeks. Once they have the first 3 digits memorized, teach them the next 3 but teach them to add them onto the first 3. For example, (809) 867. You build the second set of digits onto the first set so they are learning 3 digits at first and then 6. Once your child has these 6 digits memorized, add the next 4 digits. This is usually the hardest part and will take the longest. Don’t worry if it seems to take a while. This is a hard skill for kids to learn and recalling 10 digits in a specific order requires some higher level recollection on their part.
Setting a password that the child needs to use is a great way for them to learn it. Whether it’s a password to get on the computer, a program they want to use, or an iPad, they’re bound to be more motivated to read it.
What this looks like:
We noticed that our kids were having a hard time remembering the last 4 digits of our phone number (which I mentioned is common in step #2). We changed our iPad password to be those last 4 digits. The girls don’t use our iPad and iPhone often, but it was enough for them to quickly remember it. Once they had those last 4 digits memorized, it was easy for them to put the whole phone number together. Once we felt this phone number was mastered, we changed the password to the next phone number we wanted them to remember.
In my opinion, it’s a good time to start teaching kids their phone number around age 4 or 5. Chances are they won’t be able to remember the whole number at age 4, but they can start working on the first sections. On the flip side, some kids may be capable of remembering a whole phone number by 4, but it’s a lot less likely. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t learn their phone numbers until they are even 6 or 7.
What are some other ways that you have used to help children learn their phone numbers?
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