First Grade Check List

You did it! You made it! You successful, maybe sort of successfully helped your kindergartner through their first official year of school. (Especially if your child’s kindergarten year was during the COVID-19 pandemic). Now you are facing first grade.

Some of you may be thinking that you ‘totally got this’, while others of you may be feeling anxiety over first grade. Maybe your child went to half-day kindergarten and you are worried about your child attempting full-day first grade. Maybe you’ve heard about sight words and are already feeling overwhelmed. Whatever it may be, transitioning from kindergarten to first grade can cause anxiety and unrest.

If you are anything like myself, the beginning of a school year is riddled with anxiousness and worry. But…DO NOT WORRY! Children are resilient, teachers and educators are usually able to go with the flow, just like every school year, take one day at a time.

Like most parents, I worry about my children falling behind. I worry that if they do, I will not notice. I worry that they will become lost in the education system. Granted, my two oldest are in seventh grade so I’ve had several years of this worry. Thankfully over the years, the anxiousness has lessened and I’ve learned how to be a proactive parent. If you don’t advocate for your child, who will?

As for first grade, just like with kindergarten, I wanted to create a checklist for common skills that are typically mastered in the first-grade year. This list is a generalization and each school district has its own list of requirements for each grade level. BUT…in light of the rise of homeschooling, and distance learning with this pandemic, I wanted to impart knowledge that I’ve gained and have been blessed with from other parents and educators over the years.

Now, sight words…when my twins were in first grade and began sight words, I went overboard. I was SO worried that if they didn’t master their sight words they would never learn to read. Granted one of my twins has had a speech delay and reading delay since day one of his professional education and the other is a speed reader, but we’ve had to work on his comprehension of what he is reading.

Guess what?! My twins are now 12, and both of them read exceptionally well. There was some struggle at times, but they made it through the whole sight word era. I feel like they deserved an award for putting up with me forcing sight words down their throat. The fact is, every individual learns to read differently. While I do believe sight words are of high importance, my twin with speech delay and reading delay learned to read by sounding out the words first and then memorized the sight words.

I have not heard of a school district yet that grades their first graders on the success or failure of their ability to read the sight words. Repetition and perseverance are the keys. There are a whole heck-of-a-lot of resources available to aid your child with their sight words. And don’t fret, I will be making a whole post dedicated to sight words next week.

Hope y’all are having an amazing week. Stay safe, use hand sanitizer, hug your loved ones, and don’t fret about the upcoming school year. You got this!

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