Top 8 Ways to Practice Numeral Writing for Students' Success - Down River Resources | Your Elementary Math Guide

Top 8 Ways to Practice Numeral Writing for Students' Success

Reading or writing numerals has nothing to do with number concepts. Helping young mathematicians read and write the 10 single-digit numerals is similar to teaching them to read and write letters of the alphabet. Young mathematicians may be able to read and write some numerals more easily than others. For example, the numerals 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 are often mastered before 2, 6, 8, and 9. These challenges to numeral formation, also called numeral writing or number writing, doesn’t have to be repetitious practice; it can be engaging! Here's how:


1. Trace over pages of numerals. 

You can use dotted lines or write in a highlighter and have young mathematicians trace on top. It is through this type of practice that they train their brain how to form the numerals.

You can adding a dot for the starting point to help mathematicians remember when to begin.

This mathematician is using Numeral Tracing and Writing Pages.

2. Make numerals from clay or dough. 

This is a fun and interactive way that young mathematicians can practice number formation. 

3. Write numerals in shaving cream.

On a hard, clean surface, spray and spread shaving cream. Young mathematicians will use their pointer finger to form the numerals as directed.

4. Write them on a dry-erase board or chalkboard. 

Young mathematicians can use large or personal sized board to practice writing numbers. One of my favorite tools to use during small group instruction is a personal sized magnetic drawing board. The mathematicians love using them and I love saving paper! 

PRO TIP: I used these fun mini magnetic drawing boards from a dollar store in my small group area. No erasers needed! 

5. Write numerals in a sand tray or salt tray. 

Use a small wooden or plastic tray and fill it with sand or iodized salt. Mathematicians can use their pointer finger to write their numbers in the sand or salt. 

PRO TIP: I like using the sandwich containers from a dollar store that have a lid. We can quickly snap the lid off during use and snap it back on when not in use. {If you're like me and want to avoid a mess, only use these under supervision! Don't say I didn't warn you.}

Display cards from Numeral Writing Toolkit.

6. Write numerals on top of a zippered bag full of colored hair gel. 

PRO TIP: Use darker colored hair gel, such as green, to create a contrast between the gel and the table surface.

If you look close enough, the mathematician wrote the numeral '4' in the hair gel. Placing a white paper behind the bag creates a contrast to reveal the numeral more easily.

7. Write numbers in the air using a straight arm and point with two fingers (pointer and middle fingers placed together). 

Yes, mathematicians need to use two fingers to point! They are exercising additional muscles when performing this action since this activates the brain more! "Two fingers and straight elbows!" I often exclaim when writing numerals or letters in the air.

8. Trace numerals on sandpaper or other textured material. 

Cut out rectangles of sandpaper or other textured materials to create a mat for mathematicians to trace or write numerals.

I used some leftover clear cabinet liner with deep grooves. I placed numeral cards underneath the textured material to emphasis the correct formation.

Tracing cards from Numeral Writing Toolkit

Writing Numbers is Fun!

There are several ways to practice numeral writing to lead to students' success. Incorporating a variety of activities helps engage all of the young mathematicians in your classroom. 

If you are looking for support in this important skill, you may be interested in my numeral toolkit

The numeral writing activities described in this blog post, focus on following standards:

→ TEKS- K.2B

→ The student applies mathematical process standards to understand how to

represent and compare whole numbers, the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers,

and relationships within the numeration system.

→ K.2B Read, write, and represent whole numbers from 0 to at least 20 with and without objects or pictures.


→ K.CC.A.3 Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).

I hope this post inspires you to practice numeral writing in a variety of ways.

How will you practice numeral writing in your classroom?

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