First grade is an important year for children. During first grade, children should learn some of the crucial reading skills that they need to ensure their future academic success. But unfortunately, many children fall behind during first grade, which can make it hard for them to catch up to their peers.
If you are planning on teaching your first grader at home, it’s important to know what you should focus on when it comes to their reading skills. Here’s what you need to know when creating homeschool reading curriculum for your first grader:
What Reading Skills Should Children Learn in First Grade?
The reading skills that children develop in first grade will create a strong foundation that they can continue to build off of in the years ahead. If you are developing your own homeschool reading curriculum, here are the components that must be included:
- Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic awareness involves blending the sounds of letters together to build words. In first grade, children should focus on improving these phonemic awareness skills:
- Understand the different sounds that each letter in the alphabet makes.
- Create new words by combining different letters and blending the letters’ sounds together.
- Understand how removing a single letter can change the sound and meaning of the word. For example, first graders should understand how removing the letter “e” changes the word “hate” to “hat.”
Improving phonemic awareness will help your child acquire the skills they need to decode unfamiliar words and read more complicated texts.
Fluency is the ability to read text accurately, without interruption, and with the appropriate expression. A child with strong fluency skills will read quickly and smoothly, whereas a child with poor fluency skills will read slowly and sound choppy.
Your homeschool reading curriculum for your first grader should focus on these fluency skills:
- Be able to accurately and quickly read grade-level stories aloud.
- Understand how commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks, and other punctuation affects how a story should be read.
The best way to teach fluency is to read to and with your child. Read a passage aloud, then have your child read it aloud back to you. Or, both of you can read the passage aloud at the same time. This is a great way to teach children how to read smoothly and with the right tone and expression.
Every child can benefit from broadening their vocabulary. The more words a child learns, the easier it will be for the child to read more complex texts.
In first grade, children should improve their vocabulary skills by learning how to:
- Figure out what a word means based on how the word is used in the text.
- Figure out what a word means based on the meaning of its root word. For example, a first-grader should be able to figure out what the word “acting” means if they are familiar with the word “act.”
- Understand how two words can come together to form a compound word.
- Understand how two words can come together to form a contraction.
- Sort words into different groups based on their meanings. For example, a first grader should know that the words blue, yellow, and green are all words that refer to colors.
To build your child’s vocabulary skills, encourage them to read a wide variety of texts. If your child continues to read the same type of story over and over, they won’t be exposed to a lot of new words. You should also focus on teaching your child how a word can change when a suffix or prefix is added.
The final skill that your homeschool reading curriculum should address is comprehension, which is the ability to understand what is read. Your curriculum should focus on teaching your first grader how to:
- Point out the main idea and supporting ideas of the text.
- Predict what will happen next in the story.
- Ask and answer questions to better understand the text.
- Relate the text to things they have experienced in their own life.
Developing reading comprehension skills will help your child enjoy reading. It is also crucial to their academic success. If they cannot extract meaning from text, they may struggle in history, literature, science, and other classes throughout their academic career.
How Can Readability Help?
Readability is the only reading and comprehension app that children can use whenever, wherever. This app—which is designed for children of all ages—can help first graders develop and improve upon the crucial reading skills they need to become better readers. Your first grader can use the app to work on their skills independently, but you can monitor their progress using the app’s parent dashboard.
Use the Readability app on its own or to supplement the rest of your homeschool reading curriculum. Download it now to start your free 7-day trial.