Every child is unique, so it’s a mistake to say that all kids of a certain age or grade level should master the same things at the same time. However, there is a range of skills the majority of kids of a certain age should work toward. The list below will help you decide what to tackle in the first grade:
In first grade, your child will probably show increasing signs of independence, such as being able to work on some educational tasks by himself. Likewise, you can likely count on him to sit and work on quiet tasks for longer periods of time, follow simple directions, and write some words phonetically. Your first grader might also start to tell the difference between left and right and show early problem-solving skills.
Time and money are two of the big things this year, and your child may be ready to tell time by the hour and half hour. As for money, first grade is a good time to learn the value of the penny, nickel, dime and quarter. Most kids have been doing some counting by this point, but this is the year to work up to not only counting to 100 but also writing the numbers to 100. This is also the time to introduce kids to simple number patterns, ordinals, place value, and estimation. At this stage, many children are also ready to learn the difference between greater than and less than, what one half and one quarter mean, and how to use a number line. Exposure to skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, as well as basic geometrical shapes, can help prepare your child for later math study.
The age at which children learn to read fluently varies, though many traditional educators assert that this should happen by the end of the first grade. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule, and many children who learn to read later still excel academically and develop a love of reading later on. If your child is already reading, encourage him to choose books that give him joy, no matter how simple, as well as to try increasingly more challenging material. Work toward having your child read first-grade-level chapter books. Continue to read to him as well, just for the fun of it. Your child learns, even when you are the one doing the reading. Work on sounding out difficult words, recognizing sight words, and including some books that explore the lives of real people and real events.
As you teach these subjects, keep in mind that there are many ways to do so. Incorporating games and hand-on activities helps keep kids interested and challenged. Pretending, such as playing store, restaurant, or school, can also help children practice first-grade concepts they’ve recently learned.