Preparing for 1st Grade

Find out the skills your child should have by the end of the school year while preparing for 1st grade.



Preparing for 1st Grade

In addition to dealing with boundless energy levels and intense emotions, children preparing for 1st grade will face new responsibilities in school. Your child will learn to adjust to a longer school day, take more ownership of his homework, and learn to get around by himself.

Skills Acquired During 1st Grade
The emphasis remains firmly on developing your child’s reading and math skills, but lessons in art, social studies, science, and physical education may be incorporated as well. Although some skills will resemble those your 6 year old learned in kindergarten, keep in mind that 1st grade is mostly about mastering lessons previously taught.

Preparing for 1st Grade Reading

  • Expand sight-word vocabulary
  • Recall the sequence of events in oral and written stories
  • Discuss story elements such as plot, character, events, and setting
  • Understand basic punctuation (capitalize first letter of a sentence, use periods and question marks, etc.)
  • Identify the main idea and details in a story
  • Print legibly
  • Recognize single and plural forms of nouns
  • Write in complete sentences
  • Differentiate between fiction and nonfiction stories
  • Memorize and correctly spell between 130 and 150 words

Preparing for 1st Grade Math

  • Understand greater than, less than, lighter than, heavier than, the same as, etc.
  • Recognize and write numbers up to 100
  • Count by twos, fives, and 10s to 100
  • Mentally add numbers to 10
  • Add and subtract to 20
  • Add and subtract with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
  • Tell time to the hour and half hour
  • Recognize shapes
  • Identify, describe, and reproduce patterns with numbers, shapes, colors, or words
  • Use simple graphs to record information
  • Recognize simple mathematical symbols (e.g., “+”, “=”, “>”,”<”)
  • Read thermometers and use measuring tools like rulers

Preparing for 1st Grade Social Studies

  • Locate the United States, the seven continents, and the four oceans on a large map or globe
  • Construct and interpret simple maps with cardinal directions and map key
  • Demonstrate awareness of current news
  • Participate in group decision-making
  • Understand traditions that reflect American ideals and influences from diverse cultures within the nation
  • Create charts and timelines demonstrating an understanding of past and present
  • Recognize shared values and goals as students in the same community, despite differences in backgrounds

Preparing for 1st Grade Science

  • Use tools such as a magnifying glass, ruler, and balancing scale
  • Learn the basic needs of living things by caring for animals in class
  • Conduct simple, hands-on experiments
  • Explore the senses — hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste
  • Explore the life cycle of living things, such as frogs or butterflies
Language Arts
What to Expect by Grade
Age 6
Social Studies
Science and Technology
Early Science
Language Arts
Elementary School
Early Math
Early Reading