# Order, Order – Reading, Writing and Ordering Numbers

Early in the term is a good time to go over the basics of reading and writing numbers and putting them in order.

Young children need plenty of practice in reading, writing and representing numbers, and this can usefully be part of a ‘Number of the Day’ activity like this one.   It’s important that children start developing their number sense alongside this and representing numbers with practical equipment like Dienes, Numicon or ten frames or by drawing tally marks will help them to do this.  The Gordons program ‘Dienes and Coins’ is useful for these representations and this site has some nice interactive ten frames.  As children get older, they need to learn to understand much bigger numbers.  Children are often fascinated by really large numbers, and once they get the hang of how the number system works, more able KS2 children will enjoy trying to read and write multi-digit numbers.  This Wikipedia page lists the names up to centillions.

Number tracks and number lines can also be useful in helping children get a sense of the relative size and position of numbers.  The Mathsframe site (which I love) has a really useful activity where children put numbers on number lines.  There are lots of different levels at which to use this activity and the option of showing divisions on the line or not.  Older children need to also get a sense of how decimal numbers work and the Decimal Number Line ITP is very useful for this.  The programme allows us to ‘zoom in’ on a portion of the number line and expand it to look at what happens within that portion.  Children in KS1 will also be starting to find numbers on hundred squares.  One useful activity is for children to cut up a hundred square along the horizontal lines and then lay out the rows end to end to make a 0-99 (or 1-100) number line.  This helps them to see the connection between the hundred square and number lines and shows them why we skip to the next row when counting on over a tens barrier.  Putting together ‘jigsaw’ pieces of the hundred square can be useful for children in developing their understanding of how these work, and Nrich has a jigsaw activity which can be used either in its interactive version or in printed form.

Ordering numbers is also an important skill.  When the NNS first came in, washing lines of numbers were standard in nearly every classroom and these are well worth using still.  Having sets of number cards of different sizes means that these can be regularly changed.  Children enjoy putting numbers in order on these or spotting numbers which have mysteriously been switched overnight.  The Gordons ordering program uses this idea and again Mathsframe has some good ordering activities.  Some of the levels on this are only available to subscribers but a subscription is good value in my opinion as there is a wealth of resources on this site.

Reading, writing and ordering numbers links well with work on place value and there are ideas for that at my blog from last year and there are other ideas for teaching number on my Number Pinterest board.