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Ready Or Not Here We Come Grade One! What You Need to Know...

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

Your child has finished Kindergarten and now they know how to start a school day and work in a group. It’s the end of one era and the start of another as they enter the big school! They can count, and if they are not already reading, they have some skills to get them ready to do so. In just a few months or less they will be entering grade one and although they have made new gains with their learning and independence you may be wondering if they are ready for grade one.

Transitioning from Kindergarten to grade one is an important milestone that you will want to help go as smoothly as possible. Here are some lists of recommended skills to know by the end of Kindergarten so your child can hit the ground running when they enter into grade one.

Grade one will not only have increased responsibility and huge growth in terms of learning to read and do math and more independence but also an increase in social skills and emotional demands as they deal with more challenging tasks and increased social connections. Learning to navigate this new territory such as taking turns and listening can be demanding and thus being better prepared can be a tremendous help to our children.

Keep in mind, too, that kids develop skills at different rates. But if your child doesn’t have most of these skills down by the end of kindergarten, it’s a good idea to check in with your child’s teacher to speak about your concerns.

The emphasis in grade one is mostly on developing your child’s reading and math skills and developing more competence with their social skills. It is important that they have knowledge and ability in early reading skills, printing, number sense and problem solving in Kindergarten so that they can have a strong literacy and numeracy foundation to draw on.

Here are some important skills that your child would benefit from knowing entering first grade. We would be amiss if we didn't address the social and listening skills also, so we will begin with those.

Social Skills

  • Identifies and names at least 15 emotions: sad, happy, angry, scared, excited, lonely, miserable, frustrated, peaceful, embarrassed, nervous, disappointed, confused, surprised, love

  • Shows confidence in themselves and their interactions

  • Follows the rules and routines at home and in school

  • Uses materials properly and respectfully

  • Adapts to change with an open mind

  • Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner

  • Is able to complete a task or project by focusing their attention for 15 minutes or more.

  • Works, plays and shares with others

  • Interacts comfortably with familiar adults

  • Participates in group activities

  • Respects the feelings of others

  • Uses words to share feelings and resolve conflicts

  • Asks for adult help when needed

Listening Skills

  • Listens with interest to stories read aloud

  • Listens and engages in discussions and conversations

  • Listens and takes turns talking

  • Understands and follows simple directions

  • Listens to others for short periods of time without interrupting

  • Recites songs and poems

  • Asks questions

  • Knows the difference between asking and telling

  • Speaks in sentences

  • Composes oral stories


  • Identifies the letters and sounds of the short vowels and consonants

  • Understands left to right progression for reading

  • Identifies and creates rhymes

  • Hears and identifies the individual sounds in a word

  • Breaks words into chunks and reads simple words

  • Recognizes in print 11 basic colors - black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, pink, gray, brown, orange and purple and be able to read some of the color words.

  • Uses new vocabulary words from books to express thoughts, feelings and ideas


  • Names the main character in a story

  • Retells a simple story with a beginning, middle and end and sequences 3 events in a story (first, second, third)

  • Recalls 3 important details in a story

  • Tells a story using pictures or a picture book.

  • Identifies the difference between true and false, fact and fiction and opposites.

  • Relates a story to a personal experience or to another book.

  • Makes predictions about a story or text based on the title and/or pictures

  • Identifies words and makes meaning from picture clues in text

  • Sorts common words into categories (e.g., food, colors, shapes)

  • Asks and answers questions in discussion about the characters, settings, and major events in the story.

These are all skills that help emerging readers learn new words and read simple books .

Since reading and writing are so closely connected, I am listing some important areas they need to know in regards to writing. When it comes to writing, incoming first graders are expected to be able to write and share information in a variety of ways. This includes drawing, writing letters and words, listening to others, and speaking out loud.


  • Spells their name and other familiar words such as mom, dad.

  • Tells a story using pictures

  • Recognizes the relationship between spoken and written words

  • Distinguishes between and prints capital and lowercase letters

  • Associates letters and sounds in print

  • Copies or writes words to convey a message

  • Creates simple words and sentences using phonetic spelling

  • Writes in a left to right progression and top to bottom

  • Handles writing tools correctly

  • Draws a closed shape and make an x with only two lines- not broken up.

  • Gives information about an event by drawing, talking, and writing about it.


  • Understands what numbers represent and how many

  • Names numerals 0 through 30

  • Writes numerals 0 through 20

  • Uses counting skills to add to 10

  • Classifies and compares objects (color, shape, texture, etc)

  • Creates and extends patterns using objects, symbols and shapes

  • Collects data (surveys) and makes simple graphs

  • Solves simple addition and subtraction problems using manipulatives or fingers

  • Uses a ruler

  • Measures objects using arbitrary units such as blocks or paperclips.

  • Knows and uses comparative measures like long and short, heavy and light, etc.

  • Identifies, and draws a variety of shapes

  • Knows the days of the week and months of the year

  • Knows the value of a nickel, dime and quarter

If your child is strong in all these areas, that’s fabulous! But if not, summer can be a good time to practice…as long as you keep the work engaging and low-key. Remember: a major goal of these first years of school is to help children learn to enjoy what they’re doing in school. For engaging, hands-on curriculum, supporting reading and writing activities try visiting Early Readers Academy.

One final note - Before school starts, read with your child often. Locate or make some easy to read books that include simple sentences that they can practice reading to you. Make up rhymes and sing songs. Encourage your child to play with sounds and words by playing ‘I Spy’ or games such as, “What sound is at the beginning or end of the word ‘sun’?”

A child’s pre-school and kindergarten reading exposure will impact their reading readiness and reading level and that’s Ok! If you’re not sure that your child’s reading skills are ready for first grade, let Early Readers Academy help! Whether you want your child to catch up on his or her reading skills or jump ahead with activities that enrich and challenge them, Early Readers Academy Grade One Reading Program and online tutors make learning personal for your child.

Come along and experience Grade One reading success like never before!

Mary Printz aka Miss Mary is the co-founder of Early Readers Academy and Accelerated Potential Academy. She is a seasoned educational consultant, researcher, Reading Consultant and Developer and International speaker. You can contact her at

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