Reading & Writing Decimals to the Nearest Ten-Thousandth: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Joelle Mumley
Say you are reading a book and you come across a date or number spelled all the way out. Would you know how to change it into numbers? What about changing numbers into words? Learn how to do both in this lesson.

The Essay

James was writing an essay for his teacher. His teacher said she wanted everything in words. No pictures, no numbers, nothing else except punctuation. When James found a number in his research, he didn't know how to write it in words only. Would you know how to read it, then write it in words? Let's help James be able to read and write the decimal places.

Place Value

In order to read, write and order decimals, you need to know what all the decimal place values are. Place value is what a digit is worth based on its place in a number. Look at this first diagram appearing here:

Diagram 1: Place Value Buddies

Notice that all the place values more than one have a buddy that's less than one. There are tens and tenths, hundreds and hundredths, all the way up as far as you can go. We're going to stop at ten-thousandths because that is what this lesson is about.

Reading Decimals

It's easy to read decimals once you remember the place values.

  1. You just read the number to the left of the decimal point as normal.
  2. Then you say 'and' for the decimal point.
  3. Then read the number to the right of the decimal point.
  4. When you're done reading the number to the right of the decimal, you just tell everyone what place value you stopped at.

Let's practice with this next diagram appearing on your screen here:

Diagram 2: Reading Decimals

  1. Read the number to the left of the decimal point: 'Ninety-eight thousand, three hundred fifty-six'.
  2. Then you say 'and' for the decimal point.
  3. Then read the number to the right of the decimal place: 'Seven thousand, five hundred eighty-six'.
  4. Tell everyone what place value you stopped at: 'Ten-Thousandths'

Write this number down and try it:


How'd you do? Did you get 'Two thousand, five hundred sixty-seven and two thousand, three hundred fifty-two ten-thousandths'?

Writing Decimals

This is just the opposite from what you did. You just read the number from the words and write down what you hear. Let's write a number as we go. If you have the number twenty-three thousand, four hundred five and twelve ten-thousandths, how would you write it?

Here we go!

Twenty-three thousand (23,) four hundred five (405) and (.) twelve ten-thousandths (.0012). Notice that it ends in the ten-thousandth place.

All together it is 23,405.0012.

Ordering Decimals

The first thing to remember when ordering decimals is that all decimals must end at the same place value to make it easier. Look at this next diagram appearing here:

Diagram 3: Ordering Decimals

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