In the world of the 11+ exams, we often compartmentalise subjects, thinking of mathematics and verbal skills as separate domains. However, the reality is they are much more interconnected than people think. Surprisingly, numeracy ability can play a significant role in verbal reasoning. This blog will outline how parents can support this connection and therefore help your child better at home. We’ll explore how numeracy intertwines with verbal reasoning and provide useful tips to nurture these skills in your child.

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**Understanding the connection**

Verbal reasoning involves understanding and logically evaluating written information. It encompasses tasks like comprehending written passages, identifying patterns in language and drawing conclusions. While it may seem unrelated to numeracy at first glance, many aspects of verbal reasoning actually rely on numerical concepts. Verbal reasoning questions frequently involve identifying patterns and sequences in letters, words and numbers. Recognising numerical patterns or sequences requires mathematical thinking.

**1. Logical reasoning**

Numeracy fosters logical thinking, which is crucial for verbal reasoning. Children who are adept at working with numbers are better equipped to recognise patterns and draw logical conclusions from written material. This is no more prevalent than when completing a number sequence.

**25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100, 121, 144, ? (see the answer at the end of the article)**

Looking at the sequence above think about the relationship between the numbers. What sort of numbers are they? Can you recognise a pattern? Is the sequence increasing or decreasing?

**2. Quantitative information**

A solid grasp of numerical data is important when solving verbal reasoning question types. This is very applicable when answering balanced equations questions that involve interpreting how the calculation is the same on both sides of the equals sign.

**(9 x 8) – 7 = 56 + ? (see the answer at the end of the article) **

In what order should this calculation be solved? Have you made the equation balanced?

**3. Problem-solving skills**

Both numeracy and verbal reasoning require strong problem-solving skills. Whether it’s solving a letter sum question (shown below) or unravelling complex verbal puzzles, the ability to approach problems systematically is invaluable.

**A = 18 B = 9 C = 7 D = 12 E = 3 **

**(A + B) ÷ E = ? (see the answer at the end of the article) **

Have you accurately substituted the letters with the numbers? Did you record your answer as a letter? How can you check the answer is correct?

**4. Analogies involving numbers**

Analogies are common in verbal reasoning sections, and some involve numbers. Students must identify the relationship between numbers in the same way they would with words. For example, understanding how numbers relate to each other in pattern or sequence:

**3 is to 9 as 4 is to ? (see the answer at the end of the article) **

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**Practical ways to practise maths and verbal reasoning**

Now that we’ve established the connection between numeracy and verbal reasoning, let’s delve into some practical tips to help your child develop these skills together:

Firstly try and integrate mathematics into daily activities. Look for opportunities to incorporate mathematics into your child’s daily routine. Whether it’s calculating change while shopping or measuring ingredients while cooking, activities in your everyday life can reinforce numeracy and verbal skills in a practical context.

Additionally, encouraging pupils to read a variety of books and discussing the material will help your child analyse and draw conclusions. This will also enhance their verbal reasoning abilities, whether it’s understanding statistics in a news article or comparing numerical data in a passage.

A great way to combine maths and language skills is playing games like Sudoku, Scrabble, Wordle and crossword puzzles as this will engage both numerical and verbal skills. They encourage strategic thinking, pattern recognition and vocabulary expansion – all of which are beneficial for numeracy and verbal reasoning.

Another useful activity is to solve word problems together. Word problems provide a bridge between numeracy and verbal reasoning. Work through mathematical problems that require reading comprehension and logical reasoning. Discuss the strategies for tackling such problems, emphasising the importance of understanding the question before attempting to solve it. Below is an example of a word problem that appears in the Collins 11+ Mathematics & Word Problems Support and Practice Workbook.

Let your child observe your own problem-solving process, whether it’s calculating a tip at a restaurant or deciphering instructions for assembling furniture. Explain your reasoning aloud, demonstrating how numeracy and verbal reasoning complement each other in everyday situations.

It is clear numeracy and verbal reasoning are not mutually exclusive; they are interconnected skills that complement each other. By recognising this connection and employing targeted strategies, parents can effectively support their child’s development in both domains. Encourage a holistic approach to learning, where mathematics and language are viewed as intertwined disciplines rather than separate subjects. With consistent practice and nurturing, your child will build a strong foundation in numeracy and verbal reasoning, empowering them to excel academically and beyond.

**Answers:**

1- 169 (13 x 13)

2 - 9

3 - B

4 - 16

**By Chris Pearse **

Chris Pearse is a qualified Primary School Teacher with 10 years' experience in teaching. He started Teachitright in 2006 to provide support for children taking secondary school exams and is passionate about helping children achieve their potential whilst enjoying education.