We have been following a workbook for Grade 1 Math. The first part has been good but after following it for several months, I decided to stop using it and focus in mastering single digit addition from numbers 0-10.

Gab has been doing addition exercises for almost a year now. The workbook provided a good foundation in understanding the concept of addition. It has a lot of drawings to illustrate the concept of adding  numbers. But the workbook did not focus on mastering the skill in addition. It jumps from one skill to another instead. When it started to show activities for 2-digit addition, I decided to stop using the workbook for now.

For the next 8 weeks, we focused on single digit addition for Math in just 30 minutes a day or less. We are on our 6th week now and I am glad Gab is no longer intimidated in adding larger numbers. He is more confident in adding numbers and faster in giving the answers correctly.

Read also our Textbooks for Grade 1

Math Skills Needed

To master single-digit addition, the child needs to have several math skills already.  Here are some of the math skills needed before focusing on addition.  This is the reason why the math workbook was still useful since they build the foundation for addition.

  • Count at least from 0-20 in order
  • Writing and reading numbers
  • Comparing 2 numbers (more than, less than)
  • Concept of addition or the idea of putting together 2 things to make a new total
  • Concept of subtraction or the idea of removing something to make a new total
  • Subtract by 1
  • Place values (tens and ones)

These skills will be needed when mastering addition. If the child is having a hard time, you may need to let them study these skills again. We only started this mastery plan after more than six months of using a workbook.

The 8-week Basic Math Addition Mastery Plan

I came up with this 8-week Basic Math Addition Mastery Plan to guide us. There is no need to strictly follow the schedule. Honestly, we are one week behind. The more important goal is for the child to be confident in adding numbers. Feel free to slow down or speed up depending on the learning pace of the child.

8-Week Math Addition Mastery Plan

Before I get to the details, here are some tips first.

  1. Consider how your child prefers to be taught. At first, I wanted to use flashcards. But for some reasons, Gab doesn’t answer as accurately as compared to writing down the answers in a worksheet. So, after week 1, I printed out worksheets instead. He does it better in writing.  And Gab wants them written vertically, not horizontally.
  2. Just 30 minutes or less per day. We only have 2 worksheets in a day with 20 items per worksheet. It takes less than 30 minutes actually. If it takes more than 30 minutes, lessen the items to be answered. Gradually add back the items once the child is more confident.
  3. Don’t say it’s hard. Well, adding by 9 looks harder than adding by zero. But we don’t use the word “hard”. We say it’s “slower” instead. It promotes a growth mindset. The parent can emphasis that with constant practice, the child can add the numbers faster. And when they see their progress, the child gains confidence. I love the glow in Gab’s eyes when he can add 9+6 faster than he can add 2+2.
  4. Focus on the relationship between numbers. Don’t just let the child memorize. Let the child understand the relationship between the numbers as well. I have provided some teaching strategies to point out these relationships whenever possible.
  5. Discuss the answers and the process to arrive to the answer. By letting the child explain their answers, we would know if they truly understood the addition facts or not. Even if their answers are already correct, just let them explain their answers from time to time.
  6. No Time Limit. Let them answer at their own pace. It can be fast or slow. The important thing is they have time for deep thinking and analysis. Some of my worksheets would ask for TIME but it’s optional. The time is not a to write the limit but take note how fast they can answer the worksheet. My intention is to provide a basis for growth.

Basic Math Addition Strategies

Here’s how the 8 Week Plan is broken down.  Each week has a separate link to sample worksheets that you can use as well as some teaching strategies.

Your child needs to master a total of 121 addition facts! But don’t show this to them yet. They might feel intimated.  Besides, it is not really 121.  Since the order of the numbers doesn’t affect the answer, they only need to master about half of it.

Addition Facts Progress Week 0

Week 1 – The first week starts with the fast and easy addition facts which are adding by 0 and adding by 1.  It’s easy to teach also. Since it will be fast and easy, it helps build some confidence for kids who are learning addition facts for the first time.

Download Adding by 0 Worksheets and Strategies

Download Adding by 1 Worksheets and Strategies

Week 2 – Adding by 2 may be a bit slower. It doesn’t look as obvious as the addition facts in the previous weeks.  It took us a while to master this one. But there are several teaching strategies you can use to help your child master adding by 2.

Since adding by 2 can be slower, the next topic is adding by 10 to gain back some confidence.  Adding by 10 is again easy and fast. The pattern is more obvious.

Download Adding by 2 Worksheets and Strategies

Download Adding by 10 Worksheets and Strategies

Week 3 – Adding by 9 can be intimidating. But once the child masters adding by 10, adding by 9 will become simple. Our approach is to show that 9 is just like 10-1. By knowing this relationship, the child will use the skills of adding by 10 which is faster. More about this strategy and sample worksheets in the link below.

Download Adding by 9 Worksheets and Strategies

Addition Facts Progress Week 3

After Week 3, your child has already mastered about 70% of all the addition facts already!!!

Week 4 – For some reasons, adding doubles comes easy for most kids. Maybe because they sound fun. Adding doubles are adding the same number like 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4 and so forth until 10+10. Our strategy is to memorize the addition facts. You can check other strategies and our worksheets at the link below.

Download Adding Doubles Worksheets and Strategies

Week 5 – If adding double are fast, adding near doubles will be simple. Near doubles are numbers that are one less or one more than the doubles. These are 1+2, 2+3, 3+4, 4+5, 5+6, 6+7, 7+8, 8+9, 9+10.  The strategy for near doubles is the same as adding by 9.  You just add one or subtract one from the doubles addition that the child already knows. More about this strategy and sample worksheets in the link below.

Download Adding Near Doubles Worksheets and Strategies

Week 6 – Adding by 5 looks easy. Since we learned some addition facts for 5 in the previous weeks, we memorized the remaining three addition facts for addin by 5.  But you can also use the skill of subitizing to help visualize the addition facts.  More about this strategy and sample worksheets in the link below.

Download Adding by 5 Worksheets and Strategies

Week 7 – Like adding by 5, the child has already encountered some of the addition facts for adding by 3 and adding by 4. I did not use any strategy except asking Gab to memorize them instead.  But you can also use strategies like Make a Ten and Combinations of 10.

Download Adding by 3 Worksheets and Strategies

Download Adding by 4 Worksheets and Strategies

Addition Facts Progress Week 6

Week 8 – By this time, the child has encountered almost all of the addition facts.  There are just 2 more to master for Week 8. The child can simply memorize the remaining addition facts.  But you can also use strategies like Make a Ten and Combinations of 10.

Download Adding by 6 Worksheets and Strategies

Download Adding by 7 Worksheets and Strategies

Download Adding by 8 Worksheets and Strategies

More Math Addition Strategies

Combinations of 10 – Like adding doubles in Week 4, the combinations of 10 is fun to memorize. These are the numbers that add up to 10 like 8+2 or 3+7.  There are nice math games that uses these strategy. These can be useful for Week 7 and Week 8.

Make 10 – Week 6 to Week 8 can be taught in one week by using Making 10 strategy. The idea is to find a way to add by 10s.  For example, 8+6 is like 10+4. So the child will mentally start with 8 and get 2 from 6 to make a 10. Now 6 becomes 4 because the 2 went to 8.  Huh? For some kids, this looks more complicated than memorizing.  Thus, choose an approach that works best for your child.

Have Fun

Finally, make it fun. There are fun and creative ways to teach addition.  Some parents use flash cards. Some use the dominoes or playing cards.  There are also songs to help the child learn the addition facts.

Explore the different ways to teach addition facts and find the one that your child will enjoy and learn the most.

Again, the 8-week Basic Math Addition Mastery Plan is just a guide. It is OK to learn single-digit addition for more than 8 weeks.

Pin these Worksheets

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Gab Basic Math Addition


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  1. Jenny says:

    Thanks for this! I also have a first grader and she is not yet very confident with Math.

  2. seiji says:

    Thank you for taking the time to create this very detailed and helpful post.

    PS Gab is so cute 🙂

  3. acgmac says:

    Thank you for this. Big help for my first grader!

  4. Denise TV says:

    Many thanks for this. I try this with my K2 daugther

  5. Kristine says:

    Hi! Thank you for this. I’ve bookmarked this page already. Challenge din for me to teach math.

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