The first step in learning to tell time is to ignore the long (minute) hand. Look at the short hand. It tells the hour. If the short hand is pointing to the eight, then it is 8 o"clock. When it is halfway between the 8 and the 9 then it is half past 8.

You are watching: Short hand and long hand on a clock


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After you figure out the hour. The next step is to figure out the minutes. When the long (minute) hand is on the 3 it is a quarter of the way around the clock, so we say it is a quarter past the hour. When it is on the six it is halfway around and we say it is half past the hour. If the minute hand is on the 9 it is a quarter until the next hour begins, so we say a quarter till. The clock on the right is a quarter past 10.An hour on the clock is equal to 60 minutes. A quarter of 60 is 15 minutes. Another way of say a quarter past 10 is to say it is 15 minutes past 10.


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You can read other times on the clock using the hour and the minute hands. Start with the short hour hand. Read the number that it is pointing to or that it has just passed. On the clock on the right the short hand has just passed the number 5.Next look at the long hand. There are 60 minutes on a clock. It would take you a long time to count all the minutes. One short cut is to count by 5"s. You can start at the 1 and count by 5"s until you reach the long hand. On the clock to the right the minute hand is pointing to the 8 which is 40 minutes around from the 12.This clock says 5:40 or 40 minutes after 5.Another way or reading this clock is to count how long it will be until it is the next hour. The next hour is 6 o"clock. It takes 5 minutes for the minute hand to get to the 9. Then 10, 15, 20 to reach the top or 12 on the clock. We can say that it is 20 minutes until 6 o"clock.

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The last step is learning to read minutes between the five"s. It is best to have a clock with the minutes marked off.The clock on the right has the minutes marked off between the 4 and the 5. Each mark equals 1 minute. The minute hand is 2 marks past the 20, so we can call it 22.This clock is 22 minutes after 5 or 5:22.


Links to Telling Time Lessons and Practice Pages

How Do You Tell TimeGoogle Form Practice on Telling Time to 5-Minute IntervalGoogle Form Practice on Telling Time to 1-Minute Interval Lesson on How to Add Time Practice Adding Time Lesson on How to Subtract Time