Moving up

8 Steps for Creating a Smooth Transition to Fourth Grade

By Erica Patino

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Moving from third grade to fourth is a big step. Students are expected to behave more maturely and to take on bigger academic challenges. Follow these steps to help your child make an easier transition.


Meet with key players over the summer.

This might include your child’s guidance counselor, her case manager and her new teachers. Establish a way to communicate regularly.


Reinforce reading and writing skills.

Your child can join a library summer reading program. You could even read a book along with her. Have her practice writing in cursive.


Work on social skills.

Group playdates, day camp, and, if needed, social skills groups can help her ease into the social challenges ahead.


Try an independent project.

A summer “research” project (planting a garden, perhaps) is good practice for working more independently.


Visit school.

Before the first day, help your child locate her new classroom and meet the teacher, if possible.


Prepare for Day 1.

Make sure she has the supplies she needs and is familiar with her schedule. Set up a calendar for posting activities and due dates.


Talk about how school is going.

If she says she’s feeling overwhelmed already, encourage her to be specific about what’s worrying her. Letting her know you’re there for her can help things go more smoothly.


Stay in the loop.

Check her backpack each day for information on classroom routines, projects and events. Talk about them together. Starting fourth grade is a big change, and she’ll need to adjust to expectations.

About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Ginny Osewalt

Ginny Osewalt is certified in elementary and special education, with experience in inclusion, resource room and self-contained settings.

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