First Grade - Phonics and Reading

 In the first grade your child will learn the long vowels (cvcv) words, as well as continuing to study consonant blend and digraphs. Variant vowels like the oi and oy also are taught, and this upcoming link has a really good list and worksheet attached. In fact, there are 61 free phonics lessons here. 

My suggestion is that you progress steadily as your child understands each concept. Your child also should begin practicing reading aloud. Your child's Lexile level (mid-50 percent) should be from 0-300.

Always have lots of reading material lying around for your child to look at. You'll be surprised how quickly they pick up on words.

English and Spelling

     This is your child's first year of learning English concepts which will include

  • synonyms and antonyms
  • contractions
  • punctuation of periods and commas
  • capitalization
  • types of sentences
  • parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs (The flashcards at this site appear to be free.)


Of course, writing short, light-hearted poems is a fun activity too.

 Your child will also begin short, creative writing exercises. These are the spelling words your child also will study.

Writing can be a daunting task for some children, but parents can make it easier for their little ones. Visit my guest blog for a No Tears Approach to Writing, 

First Grade - Handwriting

     This year your child will begin to learn her capital (uppercase) letters while continuing to practice the lowercase letters. 

First Grade - Math

 Your child will learn many new concepts this year, including and introduction into these concepts. Remember though this is just an introduction to these ideas, not solid knowledge.

For example, when you cut up an orange for your child, ask her if she wants a half or a quarter. You can write down the fraction 1/2 and 1/4 on her napkin, so she can see the numbers. Then, she hears it, sees it, and touches the 1/2 orange or apple or pear. 

  • measurements
  • fractions
  • graphing
  • money
  • place value
  • time

Personally, I have used a very easy method of teaching time by starting with only the hours, then reinforcing it for a couple of days or even throughout the week.

The following week, teach the half hours; then, the quarter hours.

Finally, teach the minutes. Give each lesson its opportunity to "sink in" before proceeding to the next. I mean, after all, does one really have to learn time in one or two lessons?

This year also, your child will learn to add. First, start with the single digits. Take it slow and easy; make it fun, and use manipulatives if it helps. Then, proceed with adding double digits.

Once you see that your child understands the addition concept, you can proceed with subtracting single digits and then continue with double digits. 

Your child can learn how to understand and create bar graphs . Here is a great website with over 100 free math drills.

First Grade - Science

 I recommend keeping a science journal for all labs and assignments. This will help reinforce your child's lessons and stay organized. Science experiments that teach your child about her senses can be found here.

Emphasis also should be given to keeping her teeth healthy and flossing, as well as practicing good nutrition. 

Forgive me if this monkey video offends, but I'm often amazed at how something that's a bit offbeat is so instructional.

Look For Teaching Moments

 Upon researching flossing, I found a National Geographic video on how the Macaques monkeys teach their baby monkeys to floss.

It seems that these monkeys pull hair from a passing human and begin to floss their teeth.

When they see their babies watching, they slow down so that their babies can see the flossing movement better.

 I just thought it would be more fun to watch than a sterile dentist. And speaking of teeth, here is my take on teeth brushing with fluoride. 

Our family uses baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to clean our teeth. And for mouthwash, we chew on a piece of cinnamon bark. Here's another toothpaste recipe. 

Photo by L. Green @

Here is another website with dozens of science labs and assignments.


Upon reviewing the social studies unit at the elementary levels, I found that some of the units skipped back and forth from inventors in Europe to the United States, so I've decided to modify this include famous American inventors, scientists, statesmen, and explorers and weave in their ancestral origins.

Since America is a nation of immigrants, I'm hoping that this will better show how America achieved its greatest. I hope you agree.

Therefore, first graders will study North American explorers , colonial explorers like John Smith and colonial settlers


     You will want to focus on patterns, cut-outs, and projects in art this year, as well as continuing to learn about the seasons, holidays.I think it's completely possible for your child to make mosaic hot plates for holiday gifts or maybe birthday presents. This site not only offers a lesson about mosaics and the great Chagall, but also a crafts project.  

Physical Education and Nutrition

Here is an informative website about the need for at least one hour of physical activity daily for children between the ages of six (your first grader) and 17 years old. 

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