ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --- Worldwide, about six out of every ten children and adolescents are not meeting minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. How do our kids stack up? How can busy parents support their kids’ math learning?

A new study shows when it comes to math achievement, a parent’s support is critical. Investigators examined mothers' support of their child’s math learning at 36 months and the child’s counting and calculation skills at four and a half and six to seven years. They found more maternal support led to better math skills and better school readiness. But scientists find that supporting your kids at home may be more challenging for low-income families who may not be able to purchase resource materials or spend as much time going over skills.

So, what can you do to give your preschool-aged child an edge? Experts say parents of any income level should engage with their kids whenever possible. One technique is to label set sizes. For example, you can say, “Look, one, two, you have two pennies.” Also, choose toys that promote higher-level arithmetic skill, such as Legos, blocks, and puzzles or when cooking or at the grocery store count ingredients with your child.

Other studies find that students in the United States rank below eight other countries in reading but below 30 other countries in math.