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How To Say Really Big Numbers {It’s A Nifty Trick!}

Saying Big Numbers

Do your kids struggle with saying big numbers? Try this nifty trick and your kids will crush 5,6, & 7 figure numbers. This activity will make learning fun and teaching numeracy easy!


place value trick For Saying Big Numbers


Saying really big numbers can be difficult for kids, especially numbers with 5 or more digits. Students that find saying big numbers difficult don’t realise that numbers are said in groups or ‘families’ of three  (ones, thousands and millions) and that the comma or space in numbers represent a place value word.

You probably have these students in you classroom, they are the ones that will say big numbers in a string, “seven, one, three, two, six, five” instead of seven hundred and thirteen thousand two hundred and sixty five.

Help your students become confident at saying big numbers with this cool trick! Scroll to the end of the post for your FREE printables and be sure to visit our Teacher Worksheets page for more Freebies!




Saying Big Numbers FREE Posters

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Saying Big Numbers Using Colour Coding

Latest research into learning maths, by Professor Jo Boaler, emphasises the importance of students not learning maths through memorization.  In her books Mindset Mathematics the research shows that students will do better in maths if they are given the opportunity to visualize, play and investigate the maths concepts they are learning.

Boaler talks about how colour-coding can help students visualise number patterns which helps them to connect everything together and build a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Our brain wants to think visually about mathematics, yet few curriculum materials engage students in visual thinking. The neuroscientists’ research shows the importance not only of visual thinking but also of students’ connecting different areas of their brains as they work on mathematics.Jo Boaler


How To Pronounce Big Numbers


Think Board BLM
Place Value Game
Place Value Folder template

Nifty Trick For Saying Big Numbers

This nifty trick, using colour-coding, will help your student to visualise and connect numerals to number names and place value.  It’s a great activity to use in your math rotations, or as a warm up. Your kids will think it’s  FUN and  will love using coloured pens and highlighters to help them learn math.  We have created a nifty little free printable (scroll to the bottom of the post to get it) to go with it. Use it to get the kids started and then get the them to create their own versions!


reading Big Numbers



How To Say Big Numbers

Comma or NO Comma?

Many countries use a comma to separate numbers but some, including Australia, are no longer using the comma, they just leave a space between the numbers. It worth a discussion so that students don’t think the comma in numbers is the same as the comma in writing!  I mention both ways so that students can understand place value in a range of contexts and don’t get stumped if they see it a different way. (Read more about gaps and commas in numbers in this article).


    1. Start by writing a a 3 digit number in black pen, missing out the comma.
    2. Use the prompt: “The name of the comma in this 3 digit number is ‘Thousand’ “, use this to help you read the place value of any big numbers.
    3. Go back to the original number and add the comma using a different colour, in this case we used pink.
    4. The next step is to model to the students how to read the number from left to right. “Say the name of the number in front of the comma.” In this case it’s one, write this down in words under the digit, using black pen to match the colours
    5. Next point to the comma and say the name of the comma, “Thousand”, writing this down at the same time.
    6. Continue modelling how to say the number names of the rest of the digits in the number. In this case they are zeros so they are not said… an interesting discussion to also have with the students.
    7. Now run it al together writing it down as you go.
    8. Now, build larger numbers in the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands.


  • “The name of the pink comma is ‘thousand’.”
  • “Read the number in front of the comma (10).”
  • “Say the name of the comma (thousand)

9. Repeat the process for 100,000.

Your Time is Precious, Save it! Take A look At Our Resources


Think Board BLM
Place Value Game
Place Value Folder template


Dice Game For Saying Big Numbers

The next step for your students is to practice until they become fluent and confident. We created a fun dice game which we use with think boards. To make the big numbers we took a medicine/pill box and adapted it to help students say big numbers using colour coding. Click here for the instructions for the Place Value Dice Activity


Colour Coded Dice Shaker




Think Board BLM
Place Value Game
Place Value Folder template


Place Value Folder Free Printable

Place Value Folder Template & Dice Activity

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Newman’s Prompts – to help your kids with solving math problems



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FREE Math Talk Posters For teachers


Saying big numbers and place value can be difficult for kids, especially numbers with 5 or more digits. Help your students become confident at saying big numbers with this cool activity and FREE printable! Perfect got Year 1 to fourth grade kids. Visit our website to download it NOW! #placevaluegames #teachingkidsmath
Posted on 8 Comments

8 thoughts on “How To Say Really Big Numbers {It’s A Nifty Trick!}

  1. […] the Image to get your full scripted  Teaching Instructions &  Saying Big Numbers […]

  2. How do I get the freebies? I keep going to the site but don’t know what to click on. I purchased items so how do I get these?

    1. Hi Hazel, Please check your junk email folder your order links will be in your email.

      Please contact us using email at
      for support. Thanks

    2. Hi Hazel, the Freebie is at the end of the post under resources

  3. Great article

    1. Thanks, It is such a cool trick to help students learn how to read and say big numbers!

  4. […] and have fun building  place value understandings and will improve their ability to recognise and, say BIG numbers.  We used a dollar shop pill box and combined it with some educational research by Jo Boaler and […]

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