Using the Near Doubles Strategy for Addition

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.

Using a strategy-based approach helps students master their back addition and subtraction facts. One such strategy for tackling those harder facts, like 7 + 8, is the Near Doubles strategy. Students often easily learn their doubles (2 + 2, 3 + 3, 4 + 4, etc.). If your kiddos are still learning their doubles, check out this post for a fun kinesthetic way to practice.

This post contains affiliate links, which simply means that when you use my link and purchase a product, I receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, and I only link to books and products that I personally use and recommend.

The Near Doubles strategy involves decomposing one addend to make a double with the other addend.  For example 7 + 8 is the same as 7 + 7 plus 1 more. Double ten frames are great for exploring the strategy. Have students build each addend on a different ten frame using two-color counters. For example, 7 + 8 would look like this:

You can download a ten-frame template here.

After you’ve introduced the strategy and students have had a chance to work with manipulatives to understand the strategy, it’s time for a little independent practice! This little freebie includes a set of workstation cards and an “I Can ” card for student directions. Have students record their work in their math journals for accountability and for a quick formative assessment.

near doubles strategy

Grab your freebie here! 🙂

Check out this post for a similar FREE activity for using the Make a Ten strategy.

And if you’re looking for a great resource for strategy-based fact instruction, try this book:


  1. Sara at school

    It seems like that jump from doubles to doubles plus one is a hard one. Thanks for the ideas and freebies to help!

    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure, Sara!

    • Donna Boucher

      Love, LOVE Number Talks, Susan. We do them K-5! BTW, that YouTube video is so creative! Why wasn’t stuff like that around when I was learning history? I shared the link on my FB page. 🙂

  2. Caroline

    Hi Donna

    An other handy resource. I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and have used many of your resources with my classes. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your own learning with the rest of us teachers. You have certainly made an impact on the learning of my Aussie students.

    • Donna Boucher

      Thank you so much, Caroline, for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment. 🙂

  3. John SanGiovanni

    Love that book too!!! Thanks for all you do Donna.

  4. frankie mccall

    Thanks for the help this will really benefit my daughter!!

  5. Lee Ann Watson

    I love the Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction book. Do you find the book Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Multiplication and Division to be as helpful?

    • Donna Boucher

      Yes, absolutely! My copies of both are well-worn. 🙂

  6. Heather Price

    Hi! I love the resource you shared in this blog post for using number bonds for the doubles plus one strategy. When I click on the link, it takes me to a multiplication domino practice sheet. Can you help please?

    • Donna Boucher

      Oops! Fixed!


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