Teaching math facts in a fun, creative way

A creative solution to a common childhood math problem led to a business venture currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

As the owner of a Sylvan Learning Center 20 years ago, Judy Liautaud often had students coming to the business for help with math.

Judy Liautaud of Oak Grove is the founder of City Creek Press, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Photo by Kelly Johnson
Judy Liautaud of Oak Grove is the founder of City Creek Press, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Photo by Kelly Johnson

What Liautaud and other tutors found was that math lessons often had to take a time out for students to learn the multiplication tables.

So Liautaud came up with stories and characters to help the students remember these often vexing math facts.

For sixes, Liautaud developed a story about a couple of sixes in the desert, who become thirsty and find a watering hole.

The pair of thirsty sixes helped the young students remember the multiplication fact of 6×6=36.

“They’d remember the stories,” Liautaud said.

“The characters have to trigger the answer.”

So Liautaud decided to compile the stories into a book, complete with colorful illustrations by a Utah artist.

It was through that book that City Creek Press was born.

The business, now housed in Liautaud’s Oak Grove home, handles the publishing, marketing and distribution of the “Times Tables the Fun Way!” book, as well as accompanying materials.

These additional materials includes songs, an activity books, activity board and CD-ROM.

The multiplication material is geared toward students in second- through fourth-grades. A similar addition book and program has been created for younger students.

Throughout the 20 years of its publishing, the book has remained the same price – $19.95.

According to Liautaud, the material is especially helpful for students with learning disabilities.

“It’s fun for them,” Liautaud said.

Prior to owning the Sylvan Learning Center, Liautaud was not a trained educator.

“I learned quite a bit about education, but I never was a teacher,” she said.

Liautaud calls the book a blessing, as it has changed both her life and that of the students who read it.

“We filled a need,” she said.

Since its first printing in 1992, more than 100,000 copies of “Math the Fun Way!” have been sold.

City Creek Press began as a joint venture between Liautaud and her ex-husband in Utah in 1992. Fifteen years ago she bought out his share of the business.

In 2000, Liautaud moved to Minneapolis and later moved the business to Oak Grove when she moved there as well.

For more information, visit www.citycreek.com or call 1-800-585-6059.

Kelly Johnson is at [email protected]

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