The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills has defined 9 skills needed for work, learning and everyday living. Numeracy is named as one of the skills required that provides the foundation for learning all other skills.  According to the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills,

  • Numeracy refers to the individuals’ use of numbers and their being required to think in quantitative terms.

Students are required to use numbers in everyday life as well as in various school subjects including Math, Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology. While some students may have difficulty with reading and writing numbers and aligning numbers in order to do calculations, others may have difficulties with performing calculations and comprehending word problems. In the following section, you will find various high and low technology that can be used to support numeracy in and outside the classroom.

High technology to support numeracy

Daisy Player

  • Will allow you to read aloud math documents that have been converted into a Math Daisy format

Electronic Math Worksheets or Word Processor

  • Assists with organizing, aligning, and working through a math problems on a computer screen
  • They can be used with a speech output technology that will read aloud the material
  • Allow you to input via touch screen, handwriting recognition or a mouse

Math Scanning and Reading Software

  • Will allow you to scan in math material into your computer. This type of software will recognize many symbols and technical notations in math expressions.
  • The scanned in material can then be used with speech output technology to read aloud the text and math parts of the document.

On-screen calculators

  • On-screen calculators are available for free and are built into your computer system.
  • Some computer based calculators can be downloaded or are included as part of software will feature speech output – i.e., read aloud each number, symbol or operation key a user presses as well as vocalizes the answer
  • Auditory feedback can help check accuracy of keys pressed and verify answers before transferring it to paper

Refreshable Braille display

  • Math documents can be read using a refreshable Braille display when the document is coded appropriately (i.e., made accessible for Math to be read in Braille).

Screen readers or Text to Speech Software

  • Will provide speech output for math equations

Tactile image enhancer

  • Allows you to feel  the information conveyed in graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, etc. by touch
  • Images are printed on a special paper and run through a thermal enhancer that causes the paper to raise the areas where the ink is located, thus creating a raised form of the image on the paper.

Virtual manipulatives

  • Allows user who cannot use manipulatives (due to physical limitations) to learn math concepts with the use the computer
  • Some virtual manipulatives provide or allow for auditory feedback, allow for using of a switch  and/or alternative keyboards.  

Low technology to support numeracy

Barriers to Numeracy Low Tech Solution
Reverse Numbers
  • Calculators and graphing calculators
Difficulty lining up numbers
  • Graph paper
  • Colour coding for maintain columns
Visual Limitations
  • Raised number rulers: These rulers have easy-to-read raised numbers
  • Use mathematical aids such as raised clock faces, geometric area and volume aids and Braille rulers
  • Calculators with speech, big display calculators, large print calculators
  • Board games
  • Manipulatives: blocks, cubes, tiles, tangrams, counters, spinners
  • Number stamps: Stamps can be used for math activities instead of pens and pencils


Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) is a Canadian organization focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. OLES provide expertise, project funding, and a wide range of learning tools and other resources.

Ontario Ministry of Education – provides information and resources for parents and teachers that will support students’ reading, writing and math skills.

Ottawa Network for Education created videos for students who are interested in learning about or starting to use technologies for reading, writing and other school work. To learn more about technology to support reading, visit Ottawa Network for Education to watch a video titled ‘AT for Math & Science

Tech Matrix – provides information and resources on assistive technology and software used by students and teachers

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired – provides resources on Math, including information on Math technology, adaptive tools and technology for accessible Math.