When the average first grader arrives in September, he can’t write much more than his name and a few simple words. By June, however, those words are getting punctuated, capitalized, and turned into sentences.
Curriculums may vary from school to school, but many teachers spend at least 50 minutes a day teaching writing. Initially, the time is used for handwriting review. After a summer off, many children need to brush up on their printing skills.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling is also on the agenda. Your first grader will be expected to recognize and correctly spell between 130 and 150 words by the end of the school year. Many schools send home word lists to memorize and give weekly quizzes. The lists typically have between five to 10 high-frequency (or “sight”) words, such as a, to, is, all, I, he, she, and we, plus basic word families such as bat, cat, sat, hat, or tag, sag, hag. Throughout the week, teachers use different methods to familiarize children with the words for the week.
Along with grammar, first graders are introduced to the three basic genres of writing: narrative, persuasive, and informative. Each genre is discussed for a long time before children pick up their pencils to write. Personal narrative is usually the first genre for which your child will receive writing assignments, and this often takes the form of journal writing.
Since teachers typically want to encourage children to think of themselves as authors, they “publish” a few of the writing projects. The definition of publishing varies from school to school.
Learning to print letters, commit spelling words to memory, and string words into sentences can be a challenge for 6-year-olds. But teachers work hard to simplify the learning process and keep kids moving forward with engaging projects. You will likely marvel at what your 1st grader is able to accomplish by the end of the school year as she begins to develop the “write” stuff!