Preparing for First Grade in English

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

Flossie Epley has been with TEAM since 1981. She is founder and director of School Support Services (SSS) at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ). For thirty years SSS has been offering consultancy, resources, and programs to home schoolers and schools affiliated with CAJ in Japan. Flossie and her husband Russ have two adult children and one grandchild.

Hannah attends yochien. It’s a great way to get to know neighborhood children. Through the yochien the whole family connects with the community. It is a good situation for now, but her parents want to make a switch at first grade to offer Hannah an education in an English-rich environment. What English-language skills should Hannah learn now to prepare her for first grade?

This could be answered in many ways depending on one’s educational philosophy. Here are some language skills we teach in kindergarten at CAJ. We hope that rising first graders have these skills:

Alphabet Skills

  • Recite the alphabet in order
  • Name each letter of the alphabet
  • Know what sound(s) each letter makes
  • Put letters in alphabetical order

Pre-reading and Listening Skills

  • Memorize pattern books and poems
  • Identify rhymes in songs and poems
  • Able to identify beginning and ending sounds of spoken words

Reading Skills

  • Notice patterns in words
  • Recognize short and long vowels in words
  • Make new words by changing the first letter of a word
  • Blend syllables to say a word
  • Use magnetic letters to make words
  • Make guesses about what will happen next in stories
  • Use good reading strategies
    • use pictures to guess words
    • match letters with sounds
    • know basic sight words (the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I, at, be, this, have, from)
    • clap out two- and three- syllable words
  • Connect books to own experiences
  • Know the difference between true and made-up stories
  • Read color words, number words, and days of the week

Writing Skills

  • Recognize and write all capital and lower-case letters (CAJ uses D’Nealian writing)
  • Write first and last names
  • Write on lines
  • Write putting one finger space between words
  • Use pictures and words to show main idea of a story (initially words may be representative letters and do not have to be correctly spelled)
  • Write high-frequency words (the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I, at, be, this, have, from)

Classroom Skills

  • Follow whole-group instructions
  • Sit in a chair and listen for up to half an hour
  • Work independently after being taught a skill and given an assignment
  • Always write name and the date on papers
  • Know how to stand in a line

Are there any other skills you would add to this list?

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  • Valerie Williams

    I would just add that children should be able to count to 100 in English and write numbers 0-20 when dictated in English. 🙂 Great article! Thanks, Flossie! 🙂

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