Getting Ready for Fourth Grade

Here's how you can expect your child to learn and develop in fourth grade.
By Sasha Emmons



Getting Ready for Fourth Grade

You’ve got a high-tech thinker Which is great! The not-so-great part of being a fourth-grader? New test anxiety — lots of it.

What He’ll Be Learning

  • How to handle longer projects that require serious time-management skills
  • Working with factors, fractions, decimals, conversions of measurements, and angles
  • How to infer authors’ meanings from their texts
  • Writing in a more sophisticated way, using narrative techniques and idioms like “piece of cake”
  • Participating in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing, which gauges how U.S. students compare to those globally
  • Digital etiquette and safety

What You’ll Love 

Since they may already be active online, expect to be wowed by how much they can teach you. Take advantage of digital teaching tools to spark engagement. “If I only know the basics of a site I want to use, like, they learn the ins and outs, then show me,” says Paula Nagle, a teacher in Metairie, LA. It’s fun to watch your kid take the reins from you.

Don’t Stress Over . . .

Lack of confidence: The work isn’t spoon-fed anymore, and standardized tests can feel like such a big deal. “Our challenge is getting kids ready for all the tests,” says Nagle. It’s a lot to handle. Try boosting their confidence by indulging a passion. As kids see that they can master something with practice, their confidence grows.

The first eye roll: They may look like little kids, but the signs of early adolescence come calling, with mood swings and crushes (the boys as well now). Brace yourself: Your angel may talk back. Also, it’s harder for new kids to move into the neighborhood, as cliques have started to form, and kids are less open, says Nagle. Try mitigating moodiness by making sure she’s getting 10 hours of sleep and eating right, says Anthony. Both are hard to accomplish now, as homework amps up and athletes are old enough for high-pressure travel teams.

If you move, remind your fourth grader that a new school is a new start: No one remembers her bloody nose during assembly. Another plus: Kids who’ve moved have a leg up on navigating the transition to middle school.

Find out what to expect in:

What to Expect by Grade
Cognitive Skills
Age 9
Age 8
Child Development and Behavior
School Life