How to Use the Soroban

Although the traditional Soroban has 13 rods, it is generally recommended that you use a basic version of the Soroban for young children.  The Pacchi which only has 3 rods with different colours is the representation that is used in Heguru classes.  Tomoe Soroban is also the cheapest place I know where to find this.

You can learn how to count using the Soroban from the following videos.  Counting from 1 to 10:


11 to 20:


21 to 30:


You can get also get slide presentations and PDF files for 1 to 100 from the BrillKids’ Free Downloads area.

For more information on teaching Soroban, here are a couple of sites on this:

You can view the success with Math Secret in the video below:


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

One thought on “How to Use the Soroban

  1. What material you will be using with your toddler?

    I experience the same dilemma with my boy who doesn’t really seems to be interested in math numerical flashcards or BrillKids files. I’m looking for some other math representation that will hold my 21 months toddler attention.

    Currently, I have books from but it’s seems suitable for older kids-about 3 years old.

    Also, I purchased Pacchi abacus that would be great for my toddler little fingers. Thanks for great post. I will be looking for your other updates about your son abacus progress.



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