Perceptual Subitizer to 4

Instantly recognizes collections up to 4 briefly shown and verbally names the number items.


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • When three dots are arranged in a triangle, a child sees this arrangement, process and organize what they know about it based on previous experience, and recall that the numerical label of "three" is appropriate for naming this set.
  • With practice, a child's processing becomes more efficient, and they can effortlessly label "three" when dots are in a triangular arrangement.
  • When shown 4 objects briefly, says "four."

Help your student become a(n) Perceptual Subitizer to 4

Activities throughout the day naming the number in sets of 1 to 4 and game-like opportunities to name the number in sets only seen for 2 seconds or less help develop this fundamental numeracy concept. Simple, high-contrast items (e.g., black dots on white paper plates) focus children's attention on the number in the set. Remember, the perceptual levels are one of the very few times we do not ask "how do you know"--it's just seeing (or hearing) and naming.

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.