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Preparing for 5th Grade

Find out the skills your child should have by the end of the year while preparing for 5th grade.

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Language Arts

This is the age when academic strengths and weaknesses are fairly evident to students and teachers alike. For example, if your child has a “knack” for math, she may have been placed in an advanced class already, and the work may come relatively easy to her. On the other hand, she might dread history because she finds it boring and can’t keep the time periods straight. Ten year olds have a wide range of abilities, but a desire and willingness to learn can make all the difference, especially in subject areas that may present more of a challenge.
Skills Acquired During 5th Grade
The sheer volume of new material introduced in the 5th grade can seem overwhelming, so the right outlook is patience, patience, patience.
Preparing for 5th Grade Reading

Your child will:

  • Pinpoint the five stages of plot in fiction: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution
  • Produce written or oral book reports, demonstrating knowledge of plot and character development
  • Explain the differences between genres — biographies, poetry, mysteries, plays, historical fiction — and read books in each category
  • Know how to use the library (card and computer catalogues, periodicals, the Dewey Decimal system)
  • Read more complex texts (textbooks and fiction) to build vocabulary and comprehension skills

Preparing for 5th Grade Writing and Verbal Communication

Your child will:

  • Generate flow between sentences and paragraphs, with a clear-cut introduction, body, and conclusion in both informative and creative-writing assignments
  • Switch styles as appropriate for the audience or subject matter (for example, a casual voice when inventing character dialogue in creative writing; an objective tone for reports)
  • Participate in writing workshops in which students edit and critique each other's work
  • Write a research paper of greater length and scope (more than four pages). For example, learn to narrow the topic, locate information from multiple sources, take notes, collect and cite sources, create an outline, etc.
  • Use research and report-writing skills to complete assignments in other subjects such as science, social studies, math, art, and music
  • Prepare for middle school standardized writing tests by practicing skills in a daily journal or completing weekly at-home writing assignments

Preparing for 5th Grade Math

Your child will:

  • Compute with fractions, decimals, and mixed numbers
  • Compute with powers
  • Interpret percents
  • Organize statistical information
  • Estimate probability (many teachers begin with a coin-flipping activity and increase difficulty with variables)
  • Learn the basic angles and formulas of geometry
  • Compare measurement to the metric system
  • Compute the volume and area of objects
  • Budget with play money

Preparing for 5th Grade Science

Your child will:

  • Design basic experiments to test student’s hypothesis; after carrying out the experiment, record observations and draw concrete conclusions
  • Study physical science (electricity, magnets, atoms, molecules, and chemistry) and life science (environments, weather, water cycles, habitats, food chains)
  • Build models — hanging mobiles of the solar system, dioramas of natural habitats for earth science, clay molecules to introduce chemistry, etc.
  • Relate science to everyday life by discussing topics like weather patterns and preparing for natural disasters such as hurricanes

Preparing for 5th Grade History and Social Studies

Your child will:

  • Create timelines to understand the flow of historical events
  • Become proficient in map reading
  • Read historical fiction to enhance lessons about world history — for example, Lois Lowry's Number the Stars is often read while studying the Holocaust
  • Read accounts of individuals from past time periods in order to compare and contrast to the present

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