Reading and writing are essential for your first grader. Your child was taught the basics back in kindergarten, but now that first grade is here, you can expect even more emphasis to be placed on the language arts. This year, your child will be taught reading and writing skills that every first grader needs to know.

Story Comprehension

Your child learned to read last year in kindergarten, and in first grade, your child will be expected to read and understand more complicated text. When reading with your child, make story comprehension a priority. Ask your child questions about the characters, setting and major events. Your child should basically be able to retell the story using the text and any pictures.

Long Vowels

Although your child might have learned the long sound vowels can make, this year your first grader will learn different patterns and letter combinations that make those long sounds. Words that have a CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) pattern but end in a final –e will all make the long sounds. These final –e words include lake, bake, pile, etc. In addition to the final –e, your child will learn vowel teams that make long sounds. The vowel team –ea will make the long –e sound in “team.” Knowing these phonics rules will help your first grader become a better reader.

Decode Words

Most likely, your child read single syllable words in kindergarten. In first grade, your child will be expected to read more challenging text that contains multi-syllable words. Your first grader will need to use basic patterns and phonics rules to decode both one-syllable and two-syllable words.


Writing expectations will be higher in first grade. In kindergarten, most writing was done with the assistance of the teacher or an aide. In first grade, your child will need to learn how to write independently. This includes different writing pieces such as opinion, informative and narrative. While writing, your first grader will need to use details, reasons, and facts to support the main idea.

Although your first grader will be expected to be more independent this school year, knowing these skills will make the transition much easier. Take some time throughout the school year to figure out where your child needs more help, and then practice the skill so that your child will be successful.