A Guide to Decimals

Decimals are introduced around the third to the fifth grade. As the years go on decimals become a little harder in school. Now us as parents don’t have problems with decimals but the little ones may struggle a little. So I have compiled a list to explain different ways of working with decimals. I hope this guide will help you and the little ones with decimals.

Reading and Writing Decimals

The point in the decimal should be read “and” not point.
This is how you would read 3.2
three and two tenths
Not three point two

2.23 would be read
two and twenty three hundreths

You write decimals just the way you read them. Just turn the above examples around and that is how you write them.

Place Value

The place value behind the decimal is:
tenths | hundredths | thousandths | ten thousandths | hundred thousandths

The way my kids remember that is by saying “Ted Has Toast, Tater Tots, Hot Tea”. Just a little cute saying for the little ones.

Ordering and Comparing Decimals

To order decimals with a whole number you would put the larger whole number first and then go down the line. For example, 2.32, 4.12, 1.32, 5.98, would go in order like this from greatest to least:


To order just decimals like .5, .25, .40, you look at which number is the biggest in the tenths column. So in this case .5 is larger than .25 and .40. You can add zeros to fill in the missing digits. That helps the little ones out a little. So you would take .5 and turn it in to .50. Now it’s easy to see that .5 is bigger than .25 and .40. If the numbers in the tenths place value are all the same you would look at the hundreths column.

To compare decimals, just order them the way we just did and see which one is larger.

Adding and Subtracting Decimals

To add and subtract decimals you must line the decimals up. Then add or subtract and bring your decimal down. Here is an example.

14.59 + 2.6 =

+ 2.6
– – – – –

Multiplying Decimals

Multiply like you usually would. Then count how many numbers are behind the decimal. Then from right to left count that many places in your answer and place your decimal.

x .22
– – – – –

The answer would be 49104. There are five numbers behind the decimal so your answer would be .49104

Dividing Decimals

When you are dividing decimals bring the decimal straight up.

________ ___4_._4___
3) 12.12 3) 12 . 12

Rounding Decimals

You round decimals the same way you round whole numbers. Look at the number to the right to see if you raise the number or keep it the same. Remeber 5 or more; raise the score, 4 or less; let it rest.

.34 would be .3
.35 would be .4

You drop the digits behind the one you are rounding.

That is a guide to your basic decimals. I hope this guide helps you or someone you know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five − 3 =