**The 1-2-3s of Teaching the Language of Mathematics**

The 1-2-3s of Teaching the Language of Mathematics

(NewsUSA)- Mathematics is the only language shared by all humans, regardless of native tongue, geography, economic background or culture. In today's global economy, everyone must know how to speak math -; understand mathematical concepts.

The key to lifelong, academic and economic success is the development of critical thinking skills and numerical fluency in math curriculums from pre-K through high school. Developing a solid sense of numbers is important.

According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, by focusing on mathematics -; especially algebra -; across all grades, we will ensure that students develop the analytical thinking and reasoning skills needed for success in school and beyond. In essence, algebra for middle- and high- school students must be preceded by algebraic reasoning in the early years.

"Students who successfully complete higher-level mathematics courses -; beginning with algebra -; are at an advantage," says Judy Ann Brown, mathematics program manager for Sylvan Learning. Traditionally, students cannot take advanced mathematics classes in secondary school until they have mastered the foundational math concepts learned in elementary school -; decimals and fractions -; and successfully completed Algebra I. "Success in Algebra I is pivotal because it is the language spoken in mathematics."

Sylvan Learning encourages parents to play an active role in boosting their children's numbers sense and discovering a love of higher mathematics:

- Make math connections to everyday life. There are many opportunities for students to see the value of math. Think of tasks that you do everyday -; rearranging a teenager's room is a lesson in geometry, and cutting slices of pie can teach fractions. The more parents talk about math while completing these tasks, the more students will realize its importance.

- Demonstrate your math ability. Think out loud so your child can hear your analytical reasoning. For younger children, discuss which measuring cup is needed when baking a birthday cake. For older students, calculate discounts when shopping.

- Praise your children's academic progress. Tell them that you are proud of their math efforts, even when they struggle. When students are confident in their abilities, they enjoy learning. That love of learning leads to a willingness to try new, academic experiences.

To obtain educational resources to help students in grades K-12 learn the math skills needed for success, visit the "Math" area of SylvanLearning.com or call 1-800-31-SUCCESS.