In many ways, 1st grade is a year of important transitions—children leave behind much of the play of preschool and kindergarten and dive into developing deeper academic skills. 1st graders progress from having beginner reading and writing skills to becoming beginning readers and writers, as they not only read and write more often, but with greater comprehension and ability, too.
First grade is a crucial year for building reading skills. In 1st grade, students begin to define themselves with respect to what kind of readers they are. More specifically, research has shown that the most effective and successful 1st grade classrooms are those which are very positive places, encourage reading and writing, and convey the message “You can be a reader” to students. While this is already being done in the classroom, it can certainly be done at home too.
In 1st grade, there is also a change in the classroom structure from that of preschool and kindergarten. The 1st grade classroom is usually organized more like a traditional elementary school classroom, with tables and desks at which students spend more of their time. However, in most classrooms there is still a meeting area for lessons and class discussions, as well as areas or centers dedicated to different subjects of learning. For instance, there may be an area with all of the math tools and supplies and a class library dedicated to reading. Technology also becomes a more important part of the 1st grade classroom as students learn about and use it more.
The transition to more extensive learning, with less play time and more “sitting time,” is a very significant one. Keep in mind that your child will need to adjust to this new learning environment. He may get tired at the end of the day or have trouble focusing as the day progresses. It is important to check with your child’s teacher on your child’s progress and work together to develop strategies if your child is having trouble adjusting, especially at the beginning of the year. At home, give your child time to rest after school or allow him to play and exert his energy in the morning before school. Most importantly, give your child time to adjust. Like any person dealing with change, taking the time to get used to a new environment is crucial. The same applies to skill development. Not all 1st graders become readers and writers overnight; different children learn at different paces, especially in 1st grade when there are many changes and new skills to acquire. Again, consult with your child’s teacher on your child’s progress and inquire whether there is extra work or supplemental help that could be beneficial.
Don’t forget to check out our extensive resources on homework help for 1st Grade here.