If your child has made it through what was taught in kindergarten and is ready for what is taught in first grade, you might be wondering how different school is going to be. First grade really ups the academic ante and gives kids a chance to feel challenged. Finding learning activities to do at home is easier when you know what your child is learning at school.
First Grade Language and Literacy
Though your child might have been able to read simple books by the end of kindergarten, this is the year that he begins to put all the pieces together to learn to read in what seems like the blink of an eye.
He’ll continue to build phonemic awareness skills, but they’ll be more complicated than before. He’ll start learning about digraphs, chunks and look at word families in-depthto understand how they are formed. Your child will also be working on building his vocabulary and most likely have lists of spelling or sight words to study each week.
In reading this year, your first-grader will also work in small groups and independently to learn ways to become a more fluent reader and practice his reading comprehension skills.
First Grade Writing
First grade writing has a few components to it--practicing the techniques of writing and beginning to learn about creative writing. Now that your child’s ability to write capital and lowercase letters has been established, she will be expected to use them appropriately in her writing. She’ll practice handwriting, probably with the help of worksheets or a program like Handwriting Without Tears.
Creative writing projects may including keeping a daily journal with the help of story prompts, retelling familiar stories and writing about herself. The main goal is to be able to use writing as a way of communicating ideas. Though she may not be learning what the parts of speech are called, she’ll be learning how they fit together to make sentences.
First Grade Math
In math this year, your first-grader will start learning the foundational skills on which more complex math concepts are built. She will continue to work on learning about patterns, but this year it will extend beyond the concrete to more abstract number patterns.
Your child will also begin basic addition and subtraction, using manipulatives and number lines to help “see” the problems and be introduced to fact family math as a way to remember related facts. This is also the year basic time-telling, money recognition and place value is introduced.
First Grade Science
First science explores patterns, too, but through nature instead of through numbers. Your child will learn about different types of weather and the water cycle as well as a little bit about how these things are connected to sustaining different types of life. Her science class may also explore magnets and the common characteristics and life cycles of insects.
First Grade Social Studies
While kindergarten social studies focused a lot on immediate community, this year the idea of community will be expanded to look at the bigger world. This is a year to learn about how cities are built of neighborhoods, states made up of cities and nations are created by many states and how those all those communities fit together.
One way this may be explored further is by making maps of your child’s environment. Also, depending on your school district’s rules (and budget), your child may go on field trips to see the local government in action.