In first grade, children transform into true readers. They apply their knowledge of how print works, and practice strategies to decode unfamiliar words. They continue to expand their vocabularies and learn to read aloud with fluency, accuracy, and understanding. They read a variety of texts for pleasure (e.g., stories, informational texts, poems) and draw upon a variety of comprehension strategies to understand and enjoy texts. Children write stories, notes and descriptions. Most are able to develop an idea beyond a sentence, and will add some details to help describe or explain things in their world. They enjoy sharing their writing with others.
Appreciates the patterns and sounds of language. Can produce a series of rhyming words and words that have repeated sounds (e.g., alliterations - Sammy slipped on the shiny stone.)
Can identify and isolate initial, middle, and final sounds in single-syllable spoken words (e.g., /a/ is in the middle of "cat").
Can blend sounds together to form words (e.g., /c/ /a/ /t/ = "cat"; /ch/ /i/ /n/ = "chin") and segment spoken words into individual sounds (e.g., "bug" = /b/ /u/ /g/).
As their awareness develops, children can create new words by adding, deleting, or changing individual sounds in words (e.g., "pan" to "an," "big" to "pig," and "fast" to "fist").
Early in the year, most children can decode and spell the beginning and ending consonant sounds in words. Once familiar with short vowels, they can decode and spell many single-syllable words (e.g., "cat" and "tap") including those that contain consonant blends at the beginning or end of words (e.g.,"flat" and "jump"). They create new words by manipulating individual sounds (e.g., "map" to "tap" to "tip").
As the year progresses, they also learn about the structure of language in basic ways. For example, a vowel "says its name" (long pronunciation) when the final "-e" follows one consonant (e.g., "kite" and "name"). Or that the vowel retains its short pronunciation when two consonants separate the vowels (e.g., "tapping").
Some accurately decode and spell words that include consonant digraphs (i.e., two letters that form one sound like "th," "ch" and "sh") and vowel digraphs (e.g., "ea" and "ou").
Uses knowledge of common word families (e.g., "-at," "-it," "-ite" and "-ate") to sound out unfamiliar words (e.g., given the known word "cat," can decode "pat" and "flat.").
Many are able to notice when a word that is read doesn't make sense in the sentence and will attempt to fix the decoding error.
Reads compound words (e.g., "firefly" and "baseball") and contractions (e.g., "isn't" for "is not"). Reads inflectional forms of words (e.g., those that end in "-s," "-ed" and "-ing") such as "looked" and "looking."
Recognizes common, high-frequency words (e.g., "have," "said," "where" and "two") by sight, meaning that they are read quickly and automatically, without decoding letter by letter.
With support, writes in a variety of forms or genres for different purposes, such as simple notes or letters, journal entries, lists, reports (sentences) to share information about things and stories or personal narratives to share experiences.
When adults respond to children about the ideas in their writing, children learn that the purpose of writing is to communicate. Children whose writing primarily receives error correction (e.g., punctuation and spelling) may not fully understand writing as communication.
Writes brief stories that describe experiences (i.e., real, imagined or based on familiar stories). As a result of extensive reading, children develop an increased awareness of a story's structure and start to organize their own writing accordingly (e.g., beginning, middle and end).
With support, writes brief reports or informational pieces that describe or explain familiar objects, events and experiences. Is increasingly able to select and maintain a focus. For example, when writing a report, will organize ideas in chronological order or describe one topic (e.g., a pet).
At the beginning of the year, texts may consist of a series of words and phrases or a handful of sentences. As the year progresses, many children use descriptive words and varied language to communicate details in their writing. Development is influenced by children's opportunities to read and write as well as the level of support provided by adults.
At times, children this age may find it difficult to decide on a topic if asked to write on a subject of their choosing. Brainstorming topics can help children get started. In addition, asking questions, such as, "What happened next?" (to develop a story or retell an event) or "What words could you use to describe the frog?" (to show details) support children in writing more developed and descriptive texts.
Writing can be more enjoyable and flow a little smoother when children have an idea about what they want to write before they start. Having children talk about their ideas before writing is powerful. For example, adults can help children select a personal experience (e.g., a trip to the beach), encourage them to draw a picture about that experience and then listen as they talk about the illustration.
With adult support, children at this age can use graphic organizers (e.g., brainstorm or web of ideas) to generate and organize ideas before writing.
As writing improves and can be read by others, many use strategies to edit (e.g., grammar, capitalization, punctuation) and "publish" or publically share their written work.
Most children can print uppercase and lowercase letters legibly (using appropriate form, size, and spacing) and provide appropriate, but at times inconsistent spacing between letters, words and sentences. Early in the year, some children may use more lowercase letters, mix lowercase and uppercase letters within a word or sentence and reverse letters (e.g., "b" and "d").
Develops a deeper understanding throughout the year that a sentence is comprised of an idea. Most write complete thoughts using nouns and verbs in sentences. However, many continue to write several ideas without the use of end punctuation. By mid-year, most independently write in simple sentences with appropriate end punctuation. Errors may occur when experimenting with more complex sentences (e.g., combining ideas).
At the beginning of the year, some children may represent only consonants (especially initial and final) when spelling. By mid-year, most children can correctly spell words with regular short-vowel patterns (e.g., "cat," "hit"), as well as most common long-vowel words (e.g., "time," "name"). Children also use word recognition strategies (e.g., "sound out" words, feel how sounds are produced in the mouth, and identify word parts) to spell unfamiliar words. Such words may not end up spelled correctly, but the approximations can usually be read by the writer and others. By the end of the year, most children spell grade-level high-frequency words correctly.