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Once first graders have mastered the idea of place value and understand the concept of basic addition, moving on to two-digit addition -- both with and without regrouping -- is reasonably simple. Using manipulatives and visual cues during the learning process makes it even easier to grasp.

## Start Out With Concrete Items

Whether you use counting cubes, craft sticks or any other tangible items, starting two-digit addition instruction with counting tools makes later mastery less confusing. Use rubber bands to make bundles of 10 craft sticks and use them with loose singles to set up practice problems. For example, help your budding mathematician show 13 + 4 by placing a 10s bundle and three single sticks together and then adding four more single sticks before counting them all to find the sum. When she is comfortable with this practice and is successful in finding the answer consistently, she’s ready to move to a more abstract form of the problem.

## T-charts for Visual Cues

Start written two-digit addition with problems written vertically. This makes aligning the ones column and 10s column members easier. Draw a t-chart and label the right column “ones” and the left column “10s.” You can print these and then cover the page with clear contact paper so you can reuse it. Next, help your child record the digits in the proper columns. For example, with the problem 11 + 64, he should write 11 with a one in each of the columns. Directly underneath, he should write the 4 in the ones column and the 6 in the 10s column.