First grade involves increased responsibilities and huge growth in terms of learning to read. Children who are well prepared for first grade enter school being able to follow two and three step directions. They are also ready and able to complete lengthy projects by focusing their attention on a task for 15 minutes or more.
One way to prepare your rising first grader is to practice giving he or she verbal two and three step directions in the months leading up to first grade. Allow your child more time to craft independently and provide opportunities for him or her to sit down and practice paper/pencil work at a table or desk area for time periods of 15 minutes or more.
First grade is a BIG reading year and many children begin the year reading basic consonant-vowel-consonant words. By the end of the year, first graders are reading more complicated sentences without needing to sound out known words. They are reading grade level text with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression. First graders are also learning to answer questions about key story ideas, retell the story and describe the characters.
Students in first grade will become familiar with numbers 0-120 and multiples often. First grade students are taught a variety of addition and subtraction strategies for numbers 0-20 in addition to sequencing, place value, measurement, telling time, using graphs and knowing three dimensional shapes. Teachers will often present math lessons with the help of tools such as base ten blocks, unifix cubes, a calendar, dice, number lines, hundreds charts, clocks and counters for students to experience hands-on math.
Many first grade students transition from writing simple words to creating 5 sentence paragraphs. These paragraphs include topic sentences with supporting details and a conclusion. The use of capital letters, phonetic spelling and punctuation is a must for writing. First grade teachers often provide writing prompts for students asking them to summarize events from their own lives, write about academic content or create fictional stories.
Students are also exposed to a variety of science and social studies topics.
First graders are becoming more independent, but they still need active and involved parents throughout the year.