We start counting whole numbers with 1, 2, 3, and so on, using one digit (number place), until we get to 9. Then the next number is 10 which starts the numbers with 2 digits. Then we continue with 11, 12, 13, and so on. So now using 2 digits we can represent the number of tens plus the number of ones. For example, 14 is 1 tens and 4 ones, or 10 + 4 ones.
We can continue counting with 2 digits until we get to 99. The next number we count will be 100, which now adds a third digit to represent the number of hundreds, plus the number of tens, and the number of ones.
Reading the numbers
As we add digits our numbers show larger values, and we need to say the number in a way that tells it's value. Lets look at some numbers and how we say the numbers.
If it is just a 2 digit number like 37, the tens is said thirty with the seven: thirty seven.
A three digit number 234 is said and read, two hundred thirty four. You don't read it two, three, four.
Let's now look at the names of the number places so that we can understand even larger numbers.
When you read a four digit number, like 7,286 you say it 7 thousand, 2 hundred 86.