ing is correct if and only if each object receives one number word (LeFevre et al., 2006). An aspect of the 1-to-1 principle that is difficult even for high school students or adults to execute is remembering exactly which objects they have already counted with a large fixed set of objects scattered irregularly around (such as in a picture) (Fuson, 1988).
The principles are useful in understanding children’s learning to count, but they should not be taken as simplistic statements that describe knowledge that is all-or-nothing or that has a simple relationship to counting skill. It can be helpful for teachers or parents to make statements of various aspects of counting (e.g., Remember that each object needs one point and one number word, You can’t skip any, Remember where you started in the circle so you stop just before that.). But children will continue to make counting errors even when they understand the task, because counting is a complex activity (see Box 5-5).
of saying and pointing is the goal for overcoming this type of error. For variety, these activities can involve other movements, such as marching around the room with rhythmic arm motions or stamping a foot saying a count word each time.
Counting an object twice or skipping over an object are errors made occasionally by 4-year-olds and even by 5-year-olds on larger sets. These seem to stem from momentary lack of attention rather than lack of coordination. Trying hard or counting slowly can reduce these errors. However, when two counts of the same set disagree, many children of this age think that their second count is correct, and they do not count again. Learning the strategy of counting a third time can increase the accuracy of their counts. If children are skipping over many objects, they need to be asked to count carefully and don’t skip any.
Young children sometimes make multiple count errors on the last object. They either find it difficult to stop or think they need to say a certain number of words when counting and just keep on counting so they say that many. When they say the number word list, more words are better, so they need to learn that saying the number word list when counting objects is controlled by the number of objects. Reminding them that even the last object only gets one word and one point can help. They also may need the physical support of holding their hand as they reach to point to the last object so that the hand can be stopped from extra points and the last word is said loudly and stretched out (e.g., fii-i-i-ve) to inhibit saying the next word.
Regularity and rhythmicity are important aspects of counting. Activities that increase these aspects can be helpful to children making lots of correspondence errors. Children who are not discouraged about their counting competence generally enjoy counting all sorts of things and will do so if there are objects they can count at home or in a care or education center. Counting in pairs to check each other find and correct errors is often fun for the pairs. Counting in other activities, such as building towers with blocks, should also be encouraged.