Fourth Grade Curriculum Adds New Reading Challenges

This is a really exciting year for the fourth grade curriculum because your child is transitioning to reading for comprehension rather than just reinforcing phonics. She gets to read real books. Her lexile level should range from 445 to 810 although the new common core standards have increased these levels in its pseudo-political attempt to appear to be raising standards, your child will actually be at this level. Learn more about common core by clicking here. 

Your child will select at least two at-level fourth grade curriculum books per year to develop her comprehension and critical thinking skills. Writing book reports, answering discussion questions, and creating summary topic sentences and evaluating characters and events will insure that her reading level improves steadily.

Additionally, she should always be reading a history or science book about an inventor, explorer, and other pioneer for pleasure. However, these books still should be evaluated and discussed to reinforce her thinking skills.

Fourth Grade Science

Choose a textbook that contains organized chapters on science topics. A basic book with your child's well-organized science portfolio will provide a meaningful educational experience for your child this year. 

In addition you can find many science activities here to support her learning. 

The best way to learn any science material is through experiments using the scientific method and writing a report with a summary, drawings, new vocabulary, and diagrams. When your child keeps a detailed, organized science log of her experiments, she will be developing her brain in a way that no public school can ever teach her.

Photo provided by http://www.flickr.com/photos/snre/

The reality is that your child can study the basics of the qualities of water, matter, living things, human systems, and their health, and then learn more in-depth material over the same concepts in the upcoming years under the topics of biology, chemistry, physics, and human anatomy.

If you will look at an 8th or 9th grade physical science book, you will see all the same concepts and materials studied there that you will see in the fourth grade curriculum science book. The difference will be the depth of study and a more extensive vocabulary.

That’s good news because understanding this eliminates a parent’s fear that somehow their child won’t learn her fourth grade curriculum material if she chooses the “wrong book.” 

Health and Manners

Combine health and science lessons by showing the effects of cola on various materials. Look on YouTube or the internet for various lessons that will help your child learn how important good health care is to her life.

Personalizing her health lesson to address a specific grooming concern you may have for your child is another advantage of home schooling.

While the fourth grade curriculum in the publics doesn't contain lessons on good manners, we all know as parents how good manners opens doors for a young person. Click on the link here for a really good article on the 25 manners that children should know by the time they are nine years old. 

Fourth Grade Curriculum- English

Students using a fourth-grade curriculum should learn to write more diverse types of sentences. My suggestions for grammar include

1.    The compound subject:

  • John and his dogs walked in the park daily.
  • Sally, Maria, and Alex went to the store.

2.    The introductory prepositional phrase

  • In the morning Paul made his bed. (No comma is needed for a phrase of four or fewer words.)
  • On every other Saturday afternoon, Melissa will bathe her dog.

3.    The appositive

  • Mr. Gonzales, the mayor, campaigned for re-election.
  • Nikko Smith, the local butcher, makes the best sausage.

4.    The predicate noun

  • Mr. Gonzales is the mayor.
  • Nikko Smith is the local butcher.

5.    The predicate adjective

  • Mr. Gonzales is popular.
  • Nikko Smith is strong.

6. The compound sentence (Continued practice from 3rd grade)

  • The little girl walked carefully around the dog, but it still growled at her.

If these types of sentences are learned and practiced throughout the year, your child will have a better grasp of sentence construction than any high school student I ever taught.

One of the problems with all learning in the public schools is the belief that simply exposing a child to 20 different concepts over a week’s time implies that they will all be learned when in fact, these “slash and burn and on to the next” lessons – because they are not pursued in a focused and methodical manner—are NEVER truly learned in a way that the student can will remember and incorporate them into their writing.

What you want to hear your child say – perhaps, three years later—is “You know, this sentence doesn’t work like this; let’s try a stronger adjective for Mr. Gonzales and use an appositive instead of this noun.”

Mr. Gonzales, the mayor, is charismatic.

Studying grammar by moving from one part of speech to the next without a writing application or practice will have your child thinking, “Why am I still studying the parts of speech in the 10th grade? Didn’t I learn this in the 4th grade?”

Your child will certainly write other sentences as part of this fourth grade curriculum, but reinforcing a few basic sentence types throughout the year will allow her time to really absorb these writing tools and apply them to her own writing style.

Punctuation

Three comma rules –

  • Comma in a series - Examples: Maria, Sally, and Isaac are friends.
  • The three most common pets are dogs, cats, and birds
  • Commas with appositives - Example: Sam, the grocer, works from 7 A.M. until 7 P.M..
  • Commas with introductory prepositional phrase – Only use a comma with an introductory phrase of more than four words. For example:  On the fourth Friday of every monthJennifer volunteers at the soup kitchen.     

Capitalization Rules

Here is a website that contains the all the capitalization rules. You should focus on the major rules and not worry about the more minute rules. As your child writes more and more in each of her classes on different topics, she will have occasion to use the capitalization rules. I would work on the ones that are most appropriate and seem to be needed the most in her writing. Make a copy of this list, and checkmark and document when you introduce them into her lessons. 

Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary

Be sure to have plenty of worksheet material for reinforcing phonics lessons on blends, consonant and vowel digraphs . Your child also will begin studying prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words like these samples below. 

Prefixes

anti = against

dis = not,opposite

re = again

semi = half

trans = across


Examples: 

antifreeze, disrespect, reenlist, semicircle, transcontinental

Roots

alt = high, deep

belli = war

deci = ten

dors = back

pneu = air, breath


Examples: 

altitude, belligerant, decimal, dorsal, pneumonia

Suffixes

-able, ible = can be done

-ity = state of 

-less = without

-ment = action or process

-er = one who does

Examples: 

capable, sanity, useless, employment, worker

From these word studies, she will study vocabulary words that naturally arise from these roots, and these will provide her spelling lessons. Building vocabulary from this word study, from the context of her history, as well as writing sentences using these words will reinforce her learning in all her subject areas.

A word about crossword puzzles and word searches--

Here is a crossword puzzle maker or word search game is an excellent way to reinforce vocabulary and spelling respectively. Often software for these programs can be purchased very economically, and you will use them for years. It’s a good educational purchase if you can’t find one for free on the internet.

Please visit my suggested writing assignments across the fourth grade curriculum.



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