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Curriculum Overview

First Grade

English Language Arts (ELA)

First graders build upon the reading and writing skills learned in Kindergarten.  Students read more complex texts while being taught to decode longer, more difficult words.   A key element of the first grade reading curriculum is teaching more comprehension strategies to students, including questioning techniques and rereading for understanding.  First graders often work cooperatively, participating in guided reading, strategy groups and book clubs.  Writing is emphasized through daily workshops on writing stories, informational texts and opinion pieces on topics of interest.  Students generate an abundance of writing pieces over the course of the year that are shared through collaborative classroom activities.  

Literacy skills taught in First Grade include:

  • Capitalization and punctuation
  • Learning common suffixes (ing, ed, es)
  • Blending (putting sounds together to read words) and segmenting (breaking down the sounds to write words)
  • Describing characters, setting and major events
  • Non-fiction text features such as glossary, headings and table of contents.
  • Identifying who is telling a story (point of view)
  • Identifying the central message of a text
  • Understanding the role of fluency (reading rate, smoothness and expression) in reading
  • Asking and answering questions about fiction and non-fiction texts

Students in all grades K-8 learn reading and writing strategies and skills through teacher modeling, guided practice and independent reading and writing time.  Through daily reader’s and writer’s workshop time, students learn to live as a reader and writer, thinking critically about texts and generating numerous narrative, informational and opinion writing pieces over the course of a year.


In 1st grade, students will work with whole numbers and place value, including grouping numbers into tens and ones as they learn to add and subtract up through 20.  Students will also use charts, tables, and diagrams to solve problems.  Activities in these areas will include:

  • Quickly and accurately adding numbers together that total up to 10 or less and subtracting from numbers up through 10
  • Understanding the rules of addition and subtraction
  • Solving work problems that involve adding or subtracting numbers up through 20
  • Understanding what the different digits means in two-digit numbers (place value)
  • Comparing two-digit numbers using the symbols > (more than), = (equal to), and < (less than)
  • Understanding the meaning of the equal sign and determining if statements involving addition and subtraction are true or false
  • Adding one- and two-digit numbers together
  • Measuring the lengths of objects using a shorter object as a unit of length
  • Putting objects in order from longest to shortest or shortest to longest
  • Organizing objects into categories and comparing the number of objects in different categories
  • Dividing circles and rectangles into halves and quarters