An ordinal number refers to the position of objects. In other words, it shows the place taken by an element in a series, e.g., first, fifth, 21st (a complete list is noted below).
Teaching Ordinal Numbers
By the end of kindergarten, a child should be able to identify the position of an object using the numbers first through fifth.
Using objects such as a doll or match box car, help your child grasp ordinal numbers by lining up five objects and then ask questions, e.g., which car is second in line? Which one is fifth? First? Make sure you change the direction the cars are facing so the last one becomes the first – this will reinforce that order is determined by which direction the object is facing not the way we read (left to right). Once your child has mastered these positions, educators suggest going to the tenth position.
The order of objects is based on where they face NOT as you read!
Ordinal Numbers Worksheet
We offer two fun worksheet that help a child grasp the first through fifth positions.
List of Ordinal Numbers
Ordinal Numbers Fun Facts
Do you see a pattern in ordinal numbers? Just add th after each word. For example, six = sixth and ten = tenth. Of course, like all things in life, there are exceptions. They are as follows:
Exception 1: The Odd Balls
- one = first
- two = second
- three = third
- five = fifth
- eight = eighth
- nine = ninth
- twelve = twelfth
Exception 2: Change the Y to IE
If the word ends with a “y,” drop the “y” and add “ie.”
- twenty = twentieth
- thirty = thirtieth
- ninety = ninetieth
Do you see another pattern? When written as an ordinal figure, you write the number plus the last two letters of the written word.
- first = 1st
- second = 2nd
- third = 3rd
- fourth = 4th
Compound Ordinal Numbers
When writing compound ordinal numbers only, the last number is written as an ordinal number. For example, the number 31 would be thirty-first NOT thirtieth-first.
Ordinal Numbers – by Tens
| Ordinal Number|
|100||one hundred||one hundredth||100th|