First grade marks an important milestone for young children who finally feel like part of a “big” school. They may eat in the cafeteria for the first time or play outside during recess without the direct supervision of their own teacher; experiences that help first graders feel more independent.
First graders now have to use the social skills they developed in preschool and kindergarten in more mature ways. But the true magic of first grade happens as children develop the ability to understand what letters and numbers really mean. When they’re ready, they’ll be able to “crack the code” and read words.
In this article, I will focus on what your first grader should expect as he or she begins a transit from a more playful environment to a less playful one. In the next article, however, I will reveal the Top 5 ways of teaching a grade 1 child at home.
First-grade teachers help children listen for sounds in words, write the sounds they hear, and discover parts of written language, like the –at in cat that they can then use to figure out the words hat, mat, and sat.
Writing, like reading, takes a variety of forms in the first-grade classroom. Children “invent” their spellings as they work out their understandings of written language. Writing activities include journal writing, writing creative stories, or documenting their work in other subject areas. Teachers frequently ask children to sound out the words they write to introduce the sounds that letters make.
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.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article as much as I loved writing it for you. I hope you’ve also got a torn of value from it too.
I appreciate you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this material. If you liked what you read and these ideas make sense to you, then why not follow the footsteps of my other successful students.
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