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Steps4Kids to Multiply DVD Review by Stacy Kalisz

Lucile Lynch
Steps4Kids, LLC
PO Box 231031
Encinitas, CA 92023-1031

The Steps4Kids to Multiply DVD is a useful tool that helps children memorize the multiplication facts from zero to twelve. Recommended for second and third grade, this DVD is appropriate for homeschool and classroom settings. (In the classroom it could be projected onto a large screen or white board.) I personally feel children above the recommended age (up to fourth or fifth grade) will find this DVD helpful.

The Steps4Kids to Multiply DVD has 15 individual segments: one segment for each number (13 segments), an informational section for parents and teachers, and an introduction to math terms and properties. The total running time is 80 minutes; each section can be accessed from the main menu, allowing students to view any segment at any time.

Steps4Kids to Multiply focuses on building rote memorization skills. This is achieved by presenting the multiplication facts both visually and verbally. A variety of tips and tricks help children remember the facts quickly. Here are some examples of the tips and methods presented throughout the DVD:

  • 4 x 4 is shown in green , because 4 x 4 is 16. (My daughter no longer forgets 4 x 4 after learning it this way!)
  • "Pretzel sticks, pretzel sticks, 7 x 8 is 56."
  • 3 x 5 is shown as 3 feet with 5 toes each, which equals 15.

Other quick tips and explanations are given throughout, with gentle reminders to think about the sum in a particular way or recall a trick that has been previously taught. The multiplication facts are shown vertically and horizontally, enabling children to build familiarity with both formats.

Each segment begins by displaying the times tables up to 12, with the current section highlighted. Children are then directed to look for a pattern (if there is one) or to simply look at the numbers to familiarize themselves with the multiplication facts.

The practice segments end with a test; the multiplication problems are displayed on the screen and also voiced. This is followed by a slight pause before the answer is given. Children who are still learning the multiplication facts may need to use the pause button to allow enough time to answer. The voice used in this DVD is calm and clear, enabling children to focus their attention on listening and learning. The DVD has been described as "sensory sensitive," making this a good choice for those with special needs.

After first watching the DVD, I felt it was good, but I didn't believe it would dramatically improve my child's recollection of the multiplication facts. We have used this DVD for a few months now, and I can say that we really do like it and it actually does help. I also love the fact that it requires no preparation!

After working on a new multiplication section in her math workbook (a separate program), my 9-year-old (who struggles with math) puts Steps4Kids to Multiply in the DVD player and watches the appropriate section. Many of the memory tricks or rhymes used in the DVD have come to mind during her math lessons, helping her recall the answers quickly.

Steps4Kids to Multiply is an effective tool that facilitates memorization and recall of the multiplication facts. I recommended it for any child who is learning the facts or struggling to recall them quickly.

Product review by Stacy Kalisz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011