We recommend that students learn strategies for thinking about their basic facts, as a way to quickly and thoughtfully learn number facts.
The good news is that all of these strategies will also help students to solve number problems. Many of them are based on understanding number and being able to make connections between them and the question at hand.
The Bring It On! Book 1 Mental Strategies has several introductory thinking methods which help students overcome common obstacles with thinking, such as ways to add a string of numbers, ways to double and halve large numbers quickly, multiplying by powers of 10, linking x25 to 1/4 of 100 etc. This idea of associating difficult ideas to harder ones can be learned and practised.
Other problem-solving strategies such as “reduce and calculate” (e.g., use simpler numbers than is used in the problem, solve it and see if the method is correct; and “guess and check” method) rely on the instant recall of basic number facts. The problem can be solved with smaller numbers quickly, processed and checked without the complication of going off and working out 9+8 or 4×7. Instead the process can be smoothly worked through efficiently and the real problem can be faced without necessary complicated outsourcing of steps.