Number Word Sayer: Foundations

Sub Trajectory: Verbal

Babies initially focus on one object or person at a time, yet they may at times hold two objects, one in each hand. Eventually, older infants demonstrate an understanding that there are different amounts of things. This then leads to some understanding that numbers represent “how many” and the understanding of words that identify how much. 


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

You may see a toddler...

  • Observe or point to objects while counting on their own or while someone else counts, but may not consistently demonstrate one-to-one correspondence.
  • Start counting with one, sometimes pointing to the same item multiple times or using numbers out of order.
  • Apply their first number word, usually “two”.
  • Use fingers to count a small number of items.
  • Begin to use verbal number names. 
  • Count a few objects arranged in a straight line.

Help your student become a(n) Number Word Sayer: Foundations

Even before they can count, children learn that number, or counting, words are special. Experience hearing others count, or name quantities (see the Subitizing LT) provide foundational experiences with number words and the idea that they refer to quantities and can be ordered.

Special Thanks To

Institute of Education Sciences
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through grant numbers R305K050157, R305A120813, R305A110188, and R305A150243. to the University of Denver. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.