Automaticity is the ability for the brain to complete routine tasks without using up the brain's storage or reasoning capabilities. These abilities are the result of rote learning, repetition and practice.
Automaticity is important due to the limitations of human working memory. This is the instantaneous memory that is used to solve a problem and it can contain only store approximately 7 separate items of information at one time. For example, if a person wants to mentally compute the sum 5 + 7 but they are still at a concrete operations level, they must visualise 5 objects then visualise 7 objects before trying to add them together. This takes up more than their working memory so they will not be able to compute this sum without writing it down. If they can subertise numbers or recall friends of ten or have bridging strategies over ten, they can reduce the number of facts in their working memory, thus enabling them to complete the sum.
In order for a child to be successful at mathematics, they need to have mastered the following skills until they are automatic: