Tactile Numbers



Ten pale green cards with the numerals 1 to 10 cut out of the finest sandpaper, or other suitable textured material, and mounted one on each card.  The numerals must be the form used in the child's own country.  They must be the ones he will be expected to use throughout his school life.


To learn to recognize the numerals 1 to 10 and to associate them with their spoken name.  To feel the numerals as a preparation for writing them.


4 years and older


The teacher will use the three period lesson to teach the names.  The three senses of sight, sound, and touch will be involved.

Period 1

The teacher takes the numerals 1 and 2 and sits beside the child, placing the numerals to one side.  She places the numeral "1" card in front of the child, and holding it steady with her hand, she lightly traces the numeral with the index and middle fingers of her dominant hand.  While she is tracing the numeral as we write it, she repeats its name, "One...this is one...this is the way we write one."  She places the numeral in front of the child and invites him to feel it.  While he does so, she continues to repeat the name.  The child is not asked to say the name at this point, but he may do so spontaneously.  The teacher makes sure the child feels the numeral in the direction in which it is written, using his dominant hand. The teacher puts the numeral "1" to one side and takes the "2" card. She places it in front of the child and traces it lightly a number of times while repeating the name.  The child has the numeral to trace himself while the teacher says the name.  The child is encouraged to feel each numeral many times.

Period 2

The teacher places both numerals in front of the child.  In order to make sure the child has made the association between the numeral and its name, the teacher asks him for each in turn several times.  "Find 2 and feel it," or "Would you like to feel 1?"  After sufficient practice, the teacher puts both numerals to one side.

Period 3

The teacher gives the child a numeral and says, "Trace this and tell me its name."  She repeats this using each numeral in turn.


The teacher puts the numerals in sequence from left to right, points to them, and reviews, "Today we learned how we write the numbers 1 and 2."


On subsequent days more numerals are taught as the child is ready.  Those numerals already learned are always included in the lesson.  The box of numerals is kept on a shelf where the child can take them at any time.  He may select the ones he knows, feel them, and repeat their names. He may look at the others.