By the time kids start fifth grade, they’re expected to focus more on thinking rather than on just doing. These thinking skills involve problem-solving and finding more than one way to do things. What are the other skills students should learn by the end of fourth grade? Here are some of the highlights, according to the Common Core State Standards, which many states are starting to use.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 5: English Language Arts and Literacy
To get ready for fifth grade, kids start reading more challenging material, including news articles and other informational texts. They add to their vocabulary and use evidence from the text when they summarize. By the end of fourth grade, students are expected to have mastered the following language and literacy skills:
- Identify the main idea of what’s been read, explaining how the author used facts and evidence to back up the text.
- Compare writing from different cultures.
- Understand information presented in drawings, timelines, charts and other non-text formats.
- Take notes and organize facts; create oral and written reports using the information.
- Participate in class discussions about specific questions and share their own ideas and understandings in relation to the discussion.
- Use dialogue and descriptive language in stories to show a character’s inner life.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 5: Mathematics
In fourth grade, kids continue to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on paper and in word problems. They do more in-depth work with fractions. They also start to understand the relationship between fractions and decimals. Here are some of the activities kids do in fourth grade that will prepare them for fifth-grade math:
- Solve multi-step word problems, including those that use units of measurement.
- Work with multi-digit numbers.
- Compare fractions by looking at the top (numerator) and bottom (denominator) numbers; create fractions that are equal to each other (1/2 and 2/4) and add and subtract fractions with the same denominator.
- Recognize that multiplying fractions is like adding and subtracting whole numbers.
- Learn to change fractions with the denominators in multiples of ten (10, 100, 1000) to decimals.
- Compare decimals and fractions using > (more than), = (equal to), and < (less than) and place them correctly on a number line.
The skills students are expected to master by the end of fourth grade can be challenging. Working with fractions can be particularly tough for kids with dyscalculia and other learning issues that affect visual-spatial skills. If your child is having trouble keeping up, don’t wait until the end of the year to speak with your child’s teacher. Coming up with a plan for addressing your child’s trouble spots can put help into place sooner rather than later.
There are also things you can do at home to help. Reading and discussing the newspaper with your child can help him become more comfortable with informational text in preparation for fifth grade. Asking your child to tell you or write stories with detail about characters and plot is another way to brush up on skills. And even if your child doesn’t have dyscalculia, at-home strategies to help with dyscalculia could be very useful for kids struggling in math.