I am now a believer! Memorizing multiplication facts can, indeed, but fun and easy if you use Times Tales by the The Trigger Memory Co.
Now, let me be the first to admit: Before I was given an opportunity to review a digital version of Times Tales, I was skeptical about claims that I'd seen other reviewers post about Times Tales helping children reach multiplication mastery in just a few hours over the course of only two weeks. Indeed, until I witnessed my own children memorizing their upper times tables with help of the The Trigger Memory Co., I just did not "get" how Times Tales works.
Now, I get it, and I am thrilled! I cannot express how delighted I am that the The Trigger Memory Co. brought my daughter - who we suspect has dyslexia - from knowing almost nothing about multiplication toward multiplication mastery in so short a time period with no tears and a whole lot of smiles. Likewise, I am relieved that my oldest, who had been struggling with some of his multiplication facts, has solidified them now. Plus, as an extra bonus, my youngest, who is just mastering addition and subtraction now knows some multiplication, too.
All three of my children have used Times Tales now with smiles and success.
What Is Times Tales?
In adult-speak, Times Tales is a mnemonic-based program that uses simple animated stories to develop "memory pegs" for children to help them recall abstract math facts. In the language of my eight-year-old, who had not approached much multiplication prior to using Times Tales:
"It makes stories I can remember. It changes numbers into people and things and, after a while, I see the stories in my head. The stories secretly have the answers in them. I like it... It's helping me!"
Indeed, it is! My girl, who sometimes transposes numbers and has been known to struggle with instant recall quickly became familiar with the Times Tales characters and their stories and, in less than a day, used this recall to master some of the upper multiplication tables. Since, then, she's learned even more! Painlessly! With enthusiastic smiles even. I'll take that over drill-and-kill any day. And, truly, there is no drill-and-kill with Times Tales. Rather there is just in big download filled with simple ingenuity that works.
Times Tales in its digital version comes with:
- 2 30-minute videos which cement the following math facts in children's minds: 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 4×6, 4×7, 4×8, 4×9, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9, 7×7, 7×8, 7×9, 8×8, 8×9, and 9×9
- 4 printable pdf's that offer cube games, flashcards, crossword puzzles, tests, and an answer key to go along with the videos (which I chose to laminate for durability)
With just these resources, and nothing else, multiplication mastery is made fun and easy!
How Does It All Work?
Sometimes, the best way to see how something works is to try it yourself, so, before I tell you my take on how Times Tales works, let me also suggest that if you have 15 minutes to spare with your child this week, you check out a FREE Times Tales Sample 9's Download.
You may also want to view this 90 Second Introduction Video.
Or, let me explain: The first video in the Times Tales download teaches the upper 3's and 4's table and the second teaches the Upper 6's, 7's, 8's and 9's. It is suggested that after your child watches the first video, you spend a week practicing the math facts using games, flashcards, a crossword, and a test (all included as printables). Then, move onto the second video and practice in the same way. When watching the videos, first you'll Meet the Characters, witnessing numbers morph into their related characters onscreen, like here, where the sixth grade class is introduced.
Do you see how their heads are shaped like 6's!
Then, you'll Learn the Stories about the characters.
Did you catch how that works?
Mrs. Week (who represents a 7 since there are 7 days in a week) went butterfly hunting (for butterflies that look like 3's). She caught 20 and one landed on her head. (7 x 3 = 21!) Of course, you can see it, but, at this point, your child may not see the math connection yet, and that is A-okay! The idea in this step is simply to become familiar with the stories.Next comes the Story Quiz segment, which, in game show style, reviews each of the stories, testing if the catchy, clever memory triggers are clear in your child's head.
If you cannot pass the Story Quiz, you simply go back to watch the stories again. Then, memory triggers you move on to the You’re the Storyteller step, where you see an image of a story and pause the video to retell the story before hearing it told on the video to see if you really know it.
Next up, you Practice Flashcards, putting all the pieces together to learn that the answers to the mutiplication problems are hidden in the stores. Flashcards includes ones that have the story characters on them.
Then, you use Flashcards that are straight numbers in a Beat the Clock quiz style. As an extra bonus, there are also division problems that morph from character numbers to straight numbers.
Finally, you use all the printouts that come as pdf's to practice the math facts, doing crossword, playing dice games, and more.
After doing all this with the first video, you do it with the second and - viola! - you know all your upper multiplication facts!
Now, I know it sounds like a lot, but, really, it is not. The videos are only 30 minutes each. The first one can be watched in a single sitting as my children watched it or can be watched in ultra-brief segments, one step at a time - Meeting the Characters in one sitting, learning the Stories in Another, etc. Then, a week of practice (if that!) with the printable reinforcements, another video, some more practice, and you're done. Multiplication should be mastered through fun audio-visual triggers.
I already quotes my eight-year-old. My five-year-old simply said:
I like it.
And, he did. He enjoyed watching the videos alongside his siblings and picking up a few of the multiplication problems.
As for my ten-year-old, who knew some multiplication before using our The Trigger Memory Co. resource, but had trouble recalling several facts from memory said:
I love it! I love it! I love it! It's not boring. You get to listen to stories, instead of hearing, "Memorize these facts."
The stories were fun, and helped me finally get my facts. When my mom tested me, I got all of them right. I think the stories helped me because they are fun, and everyone learns things better when they like them.
I liked using the dice to make problems and liked the cards a little, too.
And me? Obviously, I wholeheartedly recommend this fast and fun way to learn multiplication for parents and educators who want to take the pain out of learning multiplication facts offering children the gain of quick, enjoyable learning.
Some things I particularly like about the program are that:
- It's self-paced. You can watch the videos in segments or all-at-once, then practice with games and such, going back to the videos if need be, before moving on.
It's usable with more than one child! Large families can use the download and printables with one or a few children, then, years later, do so again with others - all for one reasonable price.
- It slips in division. Although it does not fully focus on division, it includes it in such a way that children begin getting" division without even realizing it.
- It works with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. Between the videos and the hands-on helps, this program offers something for all three main learning styles. The video shows the words of each story, shows an animated version of each story, tells the story out loud, and repeatedly emphasizes the key elements of the it, both visually and verbally. The printables encourage hands-on learning.
- It helps children with special needs succeed. My child with ADHD and my child with (undiagnosed) dyslexia both get with success with this program. I hear many other children with special needs succeed with it, too!
- It engages children. I am not sure how or why the simple graphics and animations captured my children's attention so well, but they did!
Two things I wish are:
- that The Trigger Memory Co. would extend the program to include the 11's and 12's tables.
- that they would also include a "cheat sheet" for parents. Admittedly, my mind is not as elastic as my children's minds and, although I have long knows my multiplication facts, I could not always recall the stories that act as mnemonic devices for teaching them to my children. Instead of reviewing the video, then, it would be helpful to simply look at the stories on a printable.
Truly, whether you are getting ready to have a child begin learning multiplication or have a child who has already begun and is struggling, Times Tales can help! We love it.
As I mentioned before, you can enjoy a FREE Times Tales Sample 9's Download.
You can also purchase an Animated Times Tales DVD for $24.95 or access digital version of the program for $19.95.
Find The Trigger Memory Co. on Facebook.
Read about how 100 Schoolhouse Review Crew families used The Trigger Memory Co. to learn multiplication.
Do you want to avoid the tedium of traditional rote learning of the times tables? I cannot recommend Times Tales enough then!