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The figurative counting stage is characterised by students using a figurative representation of numbers. That is, students reconstruct numbers relying on imagined or figural items. The students match the sequence of counting words to figural items rather than perceptual ones. Counting from the number one appears to be necessary for the student to give meaning to the numbers.

It can be difficult to identify students at the figurative counting stage because they frequently subvocalise their counting—that is, they count by moving their lips without making audible sounds.

Figurative                                                                   Figurative (subvocal)