Why should we know how to read analog time?

Why learn to read the analog clock?

Children are often told: “You must be ready in 15 minutes. “ But what do 15 minutes represent? It is an abstract concept for someone who cannot read the time! What if going back to basics, the analog clock, used since the dawn of time 2 , could help children? Do you want to create a better understanding of routine, time management and preventing anxiety 3 in the face of change? Because indeed, it is true that understanding the analog clock is complex. It calls upon notions of mathematics, memory and competence to be located in space (before, after, sense of movement of the needle, fractions, leaps of 5, etc.). However, the traditional clock remains a great tool, allowing to have a global perspective of time, unlike the digital dial. Furthermore, research 4 concludes that mastery of the analog clock must be acquired in order to achieve a real understanding of the concept of passing time.

A performance indicator in mathematics

Then, another study 5 concludes that a child having major difficulties in learning to read the time on an analog clock, in the first cycle of elementary school, will encounter difficulties in mathematics later in his journey. school. Teachers, caregivers and parents must therefore pay attention to children in the first and second years of primary school, who demonstrate great difficulty in understanding the concept of the analog clock. And being good at math is an investment for life! Here is a compelling quote 6 : “… difficulties in mathematics are a serious public health problem, which leads to academic and professional difficulties throughout life and which creates a financial burden for society. Math skills explain the variance in employment, income and productivity at work … “. The importance attached to this mathematical concept is often underestimated!

Every parent wants their child to become independent!

Finally, knowing how to read the time is one of the 5 prerequisites of autonomy and social integration 7 . Your child will need to read the time: during school exams, to plan activities, schedule appointments and when he is of working age. Some young people need visual aids to gain more autonomy in their routine 8 .

The main difficulties encountered

Here are the 2 main difficulties identified by researchers 1 who have looked into the issue of time-based learning in children:

1) Children have difficulty distinguishing the hour hand from the minute hand;

2) When the hour hand is between 2 digits, children tend to name the largest digit. For example, at 10:30 a.m., the hour hand is located between 10 and 11 a.m., children will tend to say that it is 11:30 a.m. and not 10:30 a.m.

The solution OLO-fusion

To counter these 2 problems and facilitate the acquisition of concepts, OLO-fusion offer these solutions:

The hands of these clocks are in different colors, the green seconds hand particularly attracts the attention of young people. It allows you to integrate concretely what 1 minute that elapses represents, as an hourglass would do.

In addition, the circle around the circle of the La Futée and La Délicieuse clock models, as well as the numbers on the learning dial of L’Éclatée , allow the youngster to clearly identify the current time.

ClockTime+ La Délicieuse - Learning Time - OLO-fusion

The other BIG+

+ The wall clock, with silent mechanism, is the flagship element of the kit. It is offered in 3 different models, all as colorful as they are aesthetic: La Futée , La Délicieuse and L’Éclatée . The clock is large and solid: 14 inches, made of aluminum, acrylic and rigid plastic.

+ The 7.5-inch learning dial can be manipulated, which helps stimulate the sense of touch and promotes the integration of 10 theory. It allows the youngster to play with a fake clock, having the same visual as the wall clock. This tool facilitates the explanations that the adult must give and widens the possibilities of exercises to do.

+ The hour learning methodology is divided according to the progression of the concepts seen in primary school. Also, the story illustrated in this notebook is fun and contextualized in a completely realistic situation of everyday life. It also includes a game, which makes learning easier, because learning through directed play is as effective as it is fun 11 !

+ The sticker allows the young person, in class or at home, to learn to read the time, according to their own routine. The pictograms on the dedicated sticker for home use provide relevant visual support for young people. His system of privilege encourages him in his efforts and highlights his successes 12 !


1Siegler, R.S. et McGilly, K. (1989). Stategy choices in children’s time-telling, Dans I. Lewin and D. Zakay (Eds). Time and human cognition: a life-span perspective. North Holland : Wisevier Science Publishers.

2Wikipédia, «Heure», https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heure, July 30th 2019

3Élisabeth Boily, Orthopédagogue, «Retour à l’école: Stratégies pour aider son enfant à gérer son anxiété», <https://aidersonenfant.com/retour-a-lecole-strategies-aider-enfant-a-gerer-anxiete/>, Last edit: August 18th 2016

4Boulton-Lewis, G., Wilss, L. et Mutch, S. (1997). Analysis of Primary Children`s Abilities and Strategies for Reading and Recording Time From Analog and Digital Clocks. Mathematics Education and Research. Vol. 9, No. 2. 136-151

5Elise Burny, Martin Valcke and Annemie Desoete, Ghent University, «Running head: IMPACT OF MATHEMATICS DIFFICULTIES ON CLOCK READING», <https://users.ugent.be/~mvalcke/CV/TIME_JLD_2011.pdf>, 2011

6Lynn S. Fuchs, Ph.D., «Stratégies visant à améliorer le développement mathématique des jeunes enfants », <http://www.enfant-encyclopedie.com/sites/default/files/textes-experts/fr/125/strategies-visant-a-ameliorer-le-developpement-mathematique-des-jeunes-enfants.pdf >, March 2006

7Leland, H. et Shoaee, M. (1981). Adaptative behavior children’s scale. Ohio State University.

8Élisabeth Boily, Orthopédagogue, « Conseils pratiques pour aider son enfant à mieux planifier», <https://aidersonenfant.com/conseils-pratiques-pour-aider-son-enfant-a-mieux-planifier/>, Last update: December 12th 2015

9Marie-Ève Cloutier, «La dyscalculie : comment aider votre enfant? » <https://www.alloprofparents.ca/articles/les-troubles-dapprentissage/dyscalculie-lorsque-chiffres-semblent-indechiffrables/>, March 19th 2019

10Marie-France Rachédi, «Le toucher, un sens exceptionnel pour connaître et apprendre», http://ecole-savoirs-essentiels.fr/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Le-toucher-un-sens-pour-apprendre-Edouard-Gentaz.pdf>, February 2014

11Deena Skolnick Weisberg, Ph.D., Jennifer M. Zosh, Ph.D. «Comment le jeu dirigé favorise l’apprentissage des jeunes enfants», <http://www.enfant-encyclopedie.com/sites/default/files/textes-experts/fr/4997/comment-le-jeu-dirige-favorise-lapprentissage-des-jeunes-enfants.pdf>, February 2018

12Équipe Naître et grandir, «Le tableau de motivation», <https://naitreetgrandir.com/fr/etape/1_3_ans/comportement/fiche.aspx?doc=tableau-de-motivation>, May 2015