Very Small Number Recognizer

Begins connecting small quantities to number words to form an explicit idea of cardinality, or “how-many-ness.” 

Following the child's first birthday, the number words "one"' and "two" are often learned. Other general terms such as "more" and "less" usually follow. Only over time do they begin to understand that all groups labeled with the same number word have the same amount.




You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • May be able to recognize "one" or "two" when asked, but may not yet verbally name these quantities.
  • At about 18 to 22 months, toddlers may use “two” to mean “more than one.” Toddlers can identify whether collections are the “same” number or which is “more” visually. By 24 months of age, many toddlers have learned their first number word (typically “two”). Toddlers understand "first" and "last."
  • At about 22 to 28 months, children use “two” spontaneously and reliably to identify pairs of items. But between 24-36 months, they may overgeneralize “two” and use it to mean any number more than one and then, at about 37-39 months, they return to a more exact use of “two.”
  • At 34-39 months, children finally achieve 51-89% proficiency with “3." At 40-43 months (6 months later) still operating at 51-89% and >90% with 4.

Help your student become a(n) Very Small Number Recognizer

Experience with single objects and especially two ("one in each hand!") are noticed and labeled by adults.

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.