Can’t Get Enough Subitizing!

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.
Don’t you love that picture?!  I had to chuckle to myself yesterday when I visited one of my Kinder classrooms and saw 5 different sets of subitizing cards hanging in the math whole group area.  I may have been chuckling, but I think it underscores the point that you just can’t get too much subitizing! Notice the number line in the same classroom pictured below.  MORE subitizing!

In case you need a refresher course, to subitize (pronounced soo-bi-tize) means to instantly recognize a small quantity of objects without counting.  When you hold up four fingers and a student says 4 without counting, they are subitizing.  Once students can recognize small numbers, they are able to combine those numbers to make bigger numbers.  For example, in the picture at the top of the page, a child might see the 4 dots as 3 and 1 more, or 4.  Students should practice subitizing with a variety of objects and arrangements.  Five- and ten-frames are great for subitizing because of their anchors to 5 and 10.

I just finished up a set of flashcards showing the numbers from 1 to 20 with ten-frame representation, numeral, and word form.  Click here to check them out at my TpT store!



  1. The Brown-Bag Teacher

    I’m a student teacher, so you taught me a new term today! Thanks so much. 🙂

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

    • Donna Boucher

      Woo hoo!! Be sure to check out this post for free subitizing cards, Catherine. 🙂

  2. TheElementary MathManiac

    Looks great! I wish I had learned about subitizing in college or while student teaching!

    The Math Maniac

    • Donna Boucher

      I know, Tara! It’s such an important skill, and the kids LOVE doing it!


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