Welcome to another episode of “The Writing Glitch: Hacking Dysgraphia—No Pencil Required.” Today, we’re diving deep into the world of number sense, focusing on children, especially those facing learning challenges such as dyscalculia. Joining us is Jonily Zupancic, who brings her expert insights into the often misunderstood concept of number sense.

The Fundamentals of Number Sense

Number sense is a fundamental skill that impacts mathematical learning and understanding. It refers to a person’s ability to understand, use, and manipulate numbers and mathematical concepts. Unlike procedural knowledge, which involves memorizing facts and formulas, number sense is more intuitive.

During the podcast, Jonily explains, “Number sense is innate. It’s something we are born with.” This statement is supported by research, including a study from Johns Hopkins University, which found that even six-month-old infants can show awareness of quantities.

The Struggle with Mathematics

Many children with learning disabilities, including dyscalculia, struggle with basic math facts, which is often tied to poor number sense. Jonily shares insights on how these children might struggle with addition or subtraction because they lack an intuitive grasp of number magnitude and relationships.

To address these challenges, Jonily emphasizes the importance of teaching strategies that enhance number sense. This approach contrasts sharply with traditional methods focusing on memorization and procedural learning. She points out that procedural knowledge is necessary but does not foster a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

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Educational Strategies for Enhancing Number Sense

One effective strategy discussed is rote counting exercises, which can help children internalize the order and value of numbers without needing to rely on visual aids or manipulatives. Jonily describes several exercises, such as counting forwards and backward from any number, which can significantly aid students in solidifying their understanding of number sequences and relationships.

Moreover, these activities are not just for the classroom. They can be incorporated into daily routines, such as car rides or walks to school, making them practical and easy to implement for parents and educators alike.

The Bigger Picture

The discussion also touches on the broader implications of fostering number sense. Jonily and Cheri Dotterer, the host, explore how strengthening this foundational skill can lead to improved performance in mathematics and other cognitive areas. They discuss how enhanced number sense can help students in academic settings and everyday life, making them more numerate and better equipped to handle quantitative reasoning tasks.


Today’s podcast illuminates the critical role of today’s sense in mathematical learning, especially for children with learning challenges. By moving beyond traditional teaching methods and embracing strategies that promote an intuitive understanding of numbers, educators, and parents can provide children with the tools they need to succeed in mathematics and beyond.

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