How to Teach Rote Counting

By Lily Mae; Updated April 24, 2017
Ten digits written on a chalkboard

Rote counting is one of the most basic math skills, as it entails being able to verbally count from memory. Teaching how to count by rote memorization can be taxing, as teachers may run out of engaging ideas to teach the skill. To effectively teach this skill and ensure that students absorb counting by rote memorization, use a variety of hands-on approaches that encourage verbal counting.

Toss a ball back and forth with students; after the students catch a ball, they must orally state the next number in a sequence. For example, as you toss the ball, say the number "one." The person who catches it says "two" and tosses the ball to another person, who catches the ball and says "three." Continue the process of tossing and counting until reaching the highest number in the sequence on which you are focusing. For instance, if you're focusing on counting from one to 20, stop at the number 20. You can continue the process of tossing and counting again, starting over at the number one.

Snap, clap and foot tap to encourage rote counting. Starting with a chosen number, say the number aloud and snap, say the next number in the sequence aloud, and clap and state the next number in the sequence aloud and foot tap. For example, snap while saying "one," clap while saying "two" and foot tap while saying "three." Repeat the physical actions again, continuing the sequence of numbers; snap for "four," clap for "five" and foot tap for "six." Repeat the actions over again while counting aloud all the numbers in the series.

Physically and orally count aloud a collection of blocks to encourage rote counting. Lay a collection of blocks on the floor in a straight line. Point to the first block in the line and say the first number in your series of numbers. Point to the second block in the line and say the next number in the series and so on, until reaching the end of the line of blocks. Upon reaching the last block, go back to the first block and start the process over again. For example, point to the first block and say "one," point to the second block and say "two" and so forth.

About the Author

Lily Mae began freelance writing in 2008. She is a certified elementary and literacy educator who has been working in education since 2003. Mae is also an avid gardener, decorator and craft maker. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in education and a Master of Science in literacy education from Long Island University.