TouchMath is a program that I was previously unaware of, but has been developed and expanded in the last 40 years. According to the company’s website it is a multi-sensory math program (seeing, saying, hearing, and touching) that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and is geared towards preK-2nd grade children. It can be used as a complete core program or as a supplement with struggling learners.
My son currently can identify numbers 1-10, count to 20, and identify colors and shapes. He needs to work a little more on one-to-one correspondence and cannot yet hold up the correct number of fingers when saying a number. After looking through some samples of the preK (sample pages here) and Kindergarten lessons (sample pages here) I decided he would be better suited using the preK materials, mainly because the K material asks the child to do a fair amount of writing (which my son is not ready for).
The preK materials consist of a PDF downloadable Teacher’s Manual that contains 6 modules and 90 “workmats” (15 per module). The modules are as follows: counting and number sense; comparying and classifying; sorting, classifying, graphing, and patterning; identifying, sorting, and classifying 2D shapes; identifying, sorting, and classifying 3D shapes and coins; and number concepts and numerals. Within the Teacher’s Manual are found the workmats for each module (black and white worksheets that can be printed out as necessary), pre-activity suggestions, sometimes reading book suggestions, a scripted plan to follow for each workmat, and assessments for the end of each module. Little teacher preparation is needed besides printing out the workmats, making this a very open-and-go program in my opinion.
It is recommended that you work with your child for 2.5 times the age of the child, in minutes. For my son this meant that I aimed for less than 10 minutes of instruction each day and that was difinitely appropriate for him, and he could still generally complete 2-3 workmats in each session. My goal was to use the program once a day with him Monday through Friday and most days he enjoyed working on his “school work, ” as he called it. Some days though he preferred to play with his trains and planes instead and I did not force hime to sit down for a TouchMath lesson. However, in just the few weeks time that we had for this review we were able to complete the first module.
While this program can be used without any special manipulatives, we were sent three different types of manipulatives to try out: Texture Cards, 3D Numerals, and TouchShapes. My son was quite excited to look through and play with the Texture Cards when they first came out of the box. Inside of the box there are 5 sets of cards with different themes (eg. animals, shapes, fruit, sea life) for numbers 1-9. We did use them a few times to put the numbers in order and to quiz him on his numerals, but he quickly lost interest with the cards. Interestingly, he never really showed any interest in the 3D numerals.
What we ended up using quite a bit were the TouchShapes manipulatives. The TouchShapes are simple plastic pieces and include 6 different shapes in 6 colors and in 3 different sizes, and they have made keeping track of what objects have been counted so much easier for my son. I have found that both of my children, at a young age, would count so quickly that they tended to overcount. By placing the corresponding TouchShape on the activity page while counting my son can see what he has counted and it slows him down enough that he doesn’t count more objects than are actually there.
Overall, this is a rather engaging program that doesn’t require a lot of prep work. I think that TouchMath would be a great program for any child, but especially for those that crave tactile instruction.
Price: $59.95 for the curriculum, manipulatives sold separately