Getting ready for fourth grade involves focusing on using language and writing in all subjects. Math skills start involving ideas and not just numbers. Here are some of the key skills outlined by the Common Core State Standards that kids are expected to master by the end of third grade.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 4: English Language Arts and Literacy
To prepare for fourth grade, students are exposed to a variety of reading material, including fiction, nonfiction, charts and maps. They’re expected to understand these new materials and write about what they’ve read. As writers, kids are expected to start organizing information and ideas more effectively and support their statements or observations with facts and details. Rising fourth graders are also expected to know how to do the following:
- Read many types of stories; describe what happened, how the characters were affected and what lessons they learned.
- Answer questions about reading material that covers history, social studies and science; also use information in illustrations, maps and charts to help answer questions.
- Give a class presentation on a topic using facts, details and specific vocabulary.
- Participate in discussions by speaking clearly, listening, sharing opinions, building on other people’s ideas and asking questions.
- Use dialogue and description to write about what a character is thinking and feeling.
- Gather information from online sources in addition to books and articles; use that information to write research papers.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 4: Mathematics
By the end of third grade, children should be familiar with fractions and start to understand the “whys” of multiplication and division. They’ll begin to calculate the area of shapes and use different problem-solving strategies to solve word problems. They’ll work on these skill areas through a variety of activities:
- Explain what multiplication and division are.
- Know the times tables up to 12 and multiply numbers by 10.
- Use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to solve word problems involving more than one step.
- Understand the concept of area and how it relates to multiplication.
- Understand and identify fractions as numbers that can be placed on a number line; compare two fractions (such as knowing that 2/3 is bigger than 3/5).
- Express whole numbers as fractions and recognize fractions that are whole numbers (such as knowing that 4/1 is the same as 4).
- Measure weights and volumes.
- Read charts and graphs; show data as a graph or chart.
Kids learn at different rates. Don’t worry if your child hasn’t mastered all of these skills before starting fourth grade. However, if your child is having trouble with many of these skills, you may want to consider speaking with his teacher before the school year ends. Together you can come up with a plan to figure out what’s making learning harder. If your child has a learning or attention issue, there are ways to help in the classroom. At home, you can try a number of techniques:
- Practice word problems with more than one step or operation.
- Talk about the characters and ideas in books you read together.
- Expose your child to informational text like charts, brochures and newspapers.