Memory Hook The Times Table was written with primary aged children from infants to upper juniors in mind. However it is full of tongue in cheek humour that would appeal to teenagers and adults too if they don’t take it too seriously! Any babies who started their lives hearing these songs regularly would be at a huge advantage when it came to learning their tables later.

We have not written songs or stories or illustrated those tables because A. it would have delayed publishing and B. they are not really necessary. The 1 times table is too easy to warrant it and the 11s and 12s can be done as any other long multiplication by adding the answers of the 10s and the 1s or the 10s and the 2s respectively. They only used to be taught as a matter of course when we had pre decimalised money and we all had to work out our change when there were 12 pennies in a shilling! I mean we don’t learn a 13 times table do we?

Having said all the above answer, the 11s is a very satisfying table to learn and the 12s are frequently asked for so yes, we will add those tables in due course and sell them separately. Watch this space! I don’t intend to add the easy peasy 1s, though, unless there is a huge call for it!

If two sums have the same answer, such as, 2×6 and 3×4, then we have written songs with the same tune but with different words; essentially two verses of the same song. By noticing this children are becoming familiar with the idea of factors. 3, 4, 2 and 6 are all factors of 12.

We use exactly the same song and image for sums, whichever way round they are phrased. E.g. 5×8 or 8×5. This is because we want students to notice that they mean the same thing.

There is no set magic number of times that is guaranteed to work but this memorising technique is based on repetition but repetition in a context and with meaning. The more students listen the better, is all I can say. The more fun and interactive the experience is the better. I think you will be surprised how quickly it “works”. A week of regular enthusiastic listening would make a huge difference!

Everything in the kit is designed to help. Every time students notice something bright, funny or quirky that’s another hook to attach the number set firmly to their memory. If I had to choose I would say listening to the songs is the most important thing but that may only be because I am predominantly an auditory learner. There is something in this kit for everyone: those who learn best through listening, those who prefer movement based learning and those who learn best through their eyes. Try to use all three techniques regularly for best results.

It would be extremely helpful for students to teach other students the stories and songs and to explain to them how they help them memorise the tables. Dancing, singing along, enacting the songs and performing them would all be great memory hooks, as would drawing their own versions of the characters and stories. Teachers or parents can test table recall in an unthreatening and light hearted way by asking such questions as: Who waits with Little Miss 18 for Tootsie Two on the choo choo choo? Or another good question might be: What is the story of 21 divided by 7? You can build up to asking multiplications or divisions or factors questions gradually. I think it is important that students do not feel hurried. Allow them as much time to think as they need. Give clues if necessary. When they can remember speedily they will automatically answer speedily. They cannot answer faster than they can think but this process will naturally speed up over time. Use your own imaginations. You will come up with lots of great ideas I am sure and when you do please share them on our comments page! Also keep an eye out on our News page or our Other Products page as I will soon be selling complimentary materials such as fun work sheets.

It is true that there are many products on the market that are recordings of people singing the times tables. I have never found one, though, after years of trying, that is not just a variant of chanting the tables, relying entirely on repetition as the only memorising technique. Those songs are always songs of the whole table rather than, as in Memory Hook, a song per sum. The trouble with that idea is that there is nothing to help the children associate a particular answer with a particular sum. They don’t even rhyme. E.g 3×4=12. 12 does not rhyme with 3 or 4. They are just as likely to sing 3×4= 16! Yes, repetition alone can work, eventually, for some people – but not ever for others and it never works as quickly or as permanently as it does when backed up with meaning, colour, quirkiness humour and a rhyme scheme as in Memory Hook The Times Tables.

Yes I have informally trialled it on numerous individual children, whole classes and large mixed age groups. A group of 3 ten year olds, for example, were pretested on the 7 times table. They were asked written questions – the whole seven times table but not in order: 9×7= ?, 4×7=?, 3×7=? Etc. They could all do them by working them out and it took them about 7 minutes. Not bad and they were pretty evenly matched for speed. Then they did a two hour workshop on the 7s. The next day they were tested again and they each did the exact same test and got them all right, in under a minute. They did not have to work them out the second time!

This varies from child to child and depending on how often they engage with the product and with what level of stress free pleasure. The more pleasurable and stress free the better. Please do remember that. Stress and anxiety, pressure and feelings of inadequacy are DEATH to learning. Make it fun! As you have just seen, above, two hours of intense playfulness can make a huge difference but, I would estimate that a week often and consistently, happily engaging with the materials will have most students whizzing through all of them with confidence.

I have lots of Memory Hook products in mind but that is the trouble! They are still only in my mind! I am working as fast as I can to bring them to you. Keep an eye on our News page and our Other Products page, looking out for such exciting things as Memory Hook 11 and 12 times tables, Number bonds 1 to 10, Spelling, The Periodic Table and Line Learning. They may not all have the same song/illustration/story format so prepare to be surprised! Also, I am happy to take on individual commissions if you need help memorising anything in particular so don’t forget that you can message me via our contacts page.

The company name signifies the idea of “hooking” one memory onto a pre-existing memory. This is how recall works. We have taken the abstract concepts of numbers and sums and created meaningful characters and stories. We all have memories already existing in our minds, of characters like the numbers; mischievous, cuddly, helpful, etc. and of events such as fetes and parties etc. Our stories and songs “hook” onto these making the sums much easier to recall. Everything in the kit is designed as a memory hook; the colours, the images, the rhymes, the humour, the additional comments characters make, everything helps to make sure these ideas become firmly “hooked” in students’ memories.