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Overcoming Difficulties with Number:

Supporting Dyscalculia and Students who Struggle with Maths

by Ronnit Bird

Item: 9781848607118

Format: softcover
Pages: 168

In writing this practical book, Ronit Bird has drawn on her teaching and training experience to create teaching plans for key numeracy topics, aimed at those working with students aged 9-16.

She provides detailed strategies for teaching numeracy skills through a progression of practical activities and visualisation techniques which build the self-esteem of students who need extra help and give them a basic foundation in number. While the plans cover the National Numeracy Strategy, they can also be used in any setting where maths is being taught.

Topics covered include:

  • games and puzzles for learning number components
  • bridging
  • multiplication
  • division
  • reasoning strategies

A bank of accompanying resources, games, activities and Su-Doku puzzles is available on the CD included with this book.

This is an ideal resource for both class teachers and maths subject teachers, and is equally useful for teaching assistants and learning support assistants.


“Ronit Bird is one of the most skilled and experienced teachers of learners suffering from dyscalculia. Her approach is based on years of reflective practice but also a deep understanding of the roots of numerical difficulties and disabilities. She stresses the importance of starting with concrete and manipulable materials before moving on to more symbolic materials. Her teaching scheme building systematically on the basis of the learner’s current understanding, rather than on mechanical measures of performance. This seems to me of fundamental importance. Overcoming Difficulties with Number provides a wealth of numerical activities and games, taking the most effective from a range of sources, including Cuisenaire rods and domino patterns for the earliest stages where learners are still counting in ones. As learners progress, clear methods for reasoning about more complex numbers are introduced. She provides very lucid methods for areas where many children, not just dyscalculics, have great difficulty, such as solving 5½ x 1½ or (x+1)(x+3) using grids. I highly recommend this book for teachers and teaching assistants who deal with children who have number troubles, but I also believe that most teachers of early maths will find much that is helpful with all learners.”
- Professor Brian Butterworth, University College London

“I have tried some of the activities with pairs in a whole class situation and they work very well, particularly with children struggling to remember facts through traditional methods (that are not always particularly successful with many) or with younger children learning to count and memorise number facts for the first time”
- Mike Eatwell, Deputy Headteacher, Bristol

“The best part of the book for me is the range of resources in the appendices and the discussion of classroom activities. I like the way the activities are tightly focused on the four operations and yet have a wide variety of approaches e.g. Suduko, Connect 4 etc.”
- Claire Creason, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education, Edge Hill University

“This is a very useful publication, with plenty of practical ideas for use in the classroom and one-to-one. The CD-ROM enables the user to download templates for a wide range of games and activities, saving time and effort. The maths difficulties are explained briefly at the beginning of each chapter and progression is logical and clearly set out. This is a most useful tool for anyone supporting pupils who have difficulties with mathematics.”
- Mrs Eileen Taylor School of Education, University of Wales, Newport


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