Using Sumdog to reach low-achieving and at-risk students

Many children from low-income families, and at-risk children, struggle to engage in traditional educational activities. Finding something that actually captures their attention and motivates them can be half the battle.

Sumdog is designed to engage every type of learner, and because it is rigorously aligned to the standards, you can be sure that any practice they do is relevant and enriching.

We’ve put together some top tips on how to use Sumdog to reach students who need extra help and support:

Reward and motivate

engage and reward with Sumdog

Sumdog uses a gamified rewards system to encourage children to practice. For every correct answer they are awarded a virtual coin to spend decorating their virtual house or dressing their avatar.

They can only gain coins through accuracy, they can’t be bought, so taking some time to get the right answer really matters.

You can also motivate your students by showing them the leaderboard on your own teacher dashboard. Set the leaderboard to show accuracy, and because practice is personalized for each student, those who have traditionally struggled may soon find themselves ahead of their peers. Watch their confidence soar!

Don’t forget to check out our printable display pack so you can create leaderboards and displays on your notice boards too!


Set up clubs

sumdog lunch clubs

Sumdog can be accessed on computers, tablets and phones, but students from low-income households may not have devices to practice at home. Instead, you can set up lunchtime or after school clubs to give them some extended learning time.

Because Sumdog creates a personalized learning plan for each student, the clubs don’t need to be supervised by a math teacher or a teacher that knows their levels. Sumdog will take care of them and ensure they are working on relevant standards-aligned skills.



Many of the questions on Sumdog have a read-aloud function, just look for the little speaker icon next to the question.

This is particularly useful for students who may still be developing their reading skills, or ESL students.

It also frees up teachers and TAs as they don’t need to sit with the child to read the questions for them.

Engage parents

Don’t forget to print off your parent letters and send them home so they can help their children access Sumdog at home.

Again because Sumdog ensures each child is working on standards-aligned topics, parents don’t need to work with them if they don’t feel confident, but can be satisfied their child has done some relevant homework.

Parents can also sign up for their own free parent accounts if they want to track their child’s progress or even play along.

Get more resources to engage parents here.

Master Multiplication Tables

The multiplication tables are a key foundation to math, and confidence in the tables can give students confidence in other areas.

Our new Multiplication Tables Challenge tool lets you quickly identify where students are struggling with their tables, and then set them a challenge to focus on specific tables while playing their favorite Sumdog games.

Track their accuracy, speed and fluency, and encourage them to turn their heatmap green!

Assess and challenge

With a Sumdog subscription you can identify areas where students are struggling by setting an assessment. Quick and easy to set up, you can choose standards-aligned questions for students to answer outside of the game environment.

We mark their answers for you and present the results to you in real-time. You can see at a glance what questions they got wrong and where they struggled.

You can then set them challenges covering the topics that need work, choosing different skills for each student to personalize their practice. With bonus coins rewarded on completion, this works great for either homework or as a class activity that they will be motivated to complete, and you can track their participation and results in real-time.

Download our guide to find out how one experienced teacher uses Sumdog to assess and consolidate learning with his class.

Title I school?

You can invest your funds in Sumdog to help all students engage in education and reach state academic standards.

Find out more