# Numeracy Continuum

### Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.
##### Grades K-2 | Number Sense
Early numeracy is a huge focus for both my district and campus this year.  Too many students arrive in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade without the prerequisite skills to be successful with the more sophisticated math they are expected to do. But what does “teaching numeracy” look like?  Earlier this year, I was introduced to the book you see pictured above, lovingly referred to as the ‘purple book’, and to me it was the missing piece of the numeracy puzzle.  The book lays out a continuum of skills that students pass through as they develop numeracy.  It contains a series of assessment performance tasks and instructional activities designed to help teachers determine where their students are and move them forward along the continuum.  That’s huge!  We have to know where kids are to address their particular needs.
My 1st grade teachers gave the assessment to all their students at the beginning of the year with the help of our amazing Academic Support Teacher (who actually introduced me to the book), and it was an eye-opening experience for them.  Previously, they knew some kids struggled, but they had a hard time articulating students’ exact deficiencies.  Now, they can pinpoint exactly where each student is along the continuum and design instruction to move each child forward. I presented this material to my Kinder and 2nd grade teachers yesterday during a professional development session.  Today, one of my dear 2nd grade teachers flagged me down in the hall.  She had given the assessment to several of her low babies, and she was blown away by what she learned about their mathematical thinking in such a short amount of time.  We hugged and had a neat math geek moment.

Now, the book is fabulous, but another colleague shared a link to a website that is a perfect compliment to the book.  It’s the New South Wales (NSW) Numeracy Continuum. Do I have to YELL, or will you just trust that this is a website to bookmark?  The author of the ‘purple book’ is a contributor to the website, so you’ll get to see the book in action, so to speak.  There are sections for each of the aspects of numeracy which include a chart (shown below for Aspect 1) laying out the progression of skills, videos (see the clip below) showing the assessments being given, and lots of background on the progression of skills.  It’s a LOT to take in, but a wealth of information.  Seriously, it’s like a college course in numeracy.

So, I’ll leave it at that and let you explore.  I’d love to hear your comments!

1. Another book to add to my professional reading list. Thanks for sharing!!

• You are so welcome, Angela!! 🙂

2. Thanks for sharing!! I definitely see this as a 4th grade teacher- and when I taught 3rd. Are there any suggestions as to how to help fix it now at that age? I’d love to figure out how to fill in the gaps!!
Jessica
ideas by jivey

• You’re right, Jessica. As a 5th grade teach I saw it all the time!! You can actually use this book with older kiddos who have gaps. There is also a book by the same author called Developing Number Knowledge that is for 7-11 year-olds.

3. Oh, my. Another book to add to my wish list. Just wondering if the book provides lessons on how to develop numeracy. We still have a few kids who can not count and ID numbers consistently. Any suggestions?

• Yes! Each chapter starts with the assessment tasks and then has instructional activities.

4. Donna, I love all of the books your recommend on your site! I just read this book(you can download it on a Kindle). I thought it was loaded with great information!!!!!! My school just implemented a K math assessment we do three times a year and I think she had to have read this book because a lot of the assessment tasks are similar. I can’t wait to check out the site. I am wondering if you bought the assessment book too? I was thinking of buying it. Love all the info you give. Melissa

• I actually bought all of the books! I think this one is a newer, kind of compilation of the others. There is duplication of material with the other books.

5. Hi Donna,
The book and website are terrific. The continuum and corresponding information certainly outlines what is needed. Our district is just starting to use MAP (Measure of Academic Performance) which will be given 3 times a year. It identifies areas of weakness as well as strengths.

I think I’ll be reading and following along with this book too.

Love your blog and the resources you share. Thank you!

• Glad the book and website are things you can use, Nancy. I love the way there is so much more emphasis on early numeracy assessment these days!!

6. Thank you so much for this book recommendation. I just now purchased it and another one you recommended. I teach Grade 1 & 2 math and love every minute of it. I’m constantly checking out your amazing site for ideas! Margo from Canada

• Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Margo! I’m sure you’ll love the books. 🙂

• Just had to tell you that I showed this book to my principal and now she is buying it and Young Mathematicians (which I also showed her) for ALL the teachers in the school. (I get to choose more of your book choices in replacement because I spent my own money). Thank you so much! Margo from Canada

• Awesome, Margo! How generous of your principal and what great initiative on your part. 🙂

7. WOW!!! This site will keep me busy for hours!!! Thank you so much for sharing! Now I get to go shopping!

Cindy

• It’s definitely a keeper, Cindy! 🙂