Below is an informal 12-point checklist for your 1st grade child at the midyear mark. Use this to measure six important math and six important English/Language Arts skills that are crucial to 1st grade progress. As a 1st grade teacher with many years of experience, I strongly recommend that you check your child’s midyear academic progress as measured by the Common Core State Standards.
By midyear in math, your 1st grader should be able to:
- Count to 50 by ones, fives, and tens.
- Start to distinguish common shapes by attributes. For example, a triangle has three sides and three corners; a circle has no sides or corners.
- Understand connections between counting and addition and subtraction. For example, that adding two is the same as counting by twos.
- Know most addition and subtraction facts to 10. Part of this means knowing “turnaround” facts. For example, if 6+3 = 9 is known, then 3+6 = 9 should be also. Conversely, if 9–3 = 6, then 9–6 = 3.
- Begin to understand and use “greater than” and “less than” symbols ( > or <) .
- Begin to understand place value. This means seeing the number 54, for example, and knowing that the five is in the tens place and represents 50, and the 4 is in the ones place and represents 4. So 54 means 5 tens, and 4 ones.
In English/Language Arts by midyear, your 1st grader should:
- Know all uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Start to understand beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words.
- Begin to make substitutions to create new words. For example, if the “h” in “hat” is changed to “s,” what is the new word? If the “t” in “hat” is changed to an “m,” what’s the new word? If the “a” in “hat” is changed to an “o,” what’s the new word?
- Start to know and apply learned phonics skills to decode unknown words. In other words, “sound out” a new word.
- Ask and answer some questions about key details in both fiction and nonfiction texts.
- Begin to understand the main idea of a story, and find some evidence from the text to support that idea.
If you have concerns, schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher. At this meeting, ask for suggestions of what you can do at home to help him succeed. Between January and June is a good length of time to remediate or accelerate preparation for grade 2.