First Grade

 Helping your child learn outside of school

1. Provide time and space for your child to read independently. This reading time should be free from distractions such as television.

2. Ask your child what topics, events, or activities he or she likes. Then look for books, magazines, or other materials about those topics that would motivate your child to read.

3. It is also helpful when your child sees other people reading at home. You could share what you have read.

4.Start a family book club. Let different members of the family pick the book. This could be a good way to enjoy quality family time while experiencing the joy of reading together!

5. Be sure your child has a library card. Children should select books in which they are interested to develop a passion for reading. Mesa Public Library has activities that make reading fun for the entire family.

6. Use technology to help build your child’s interest in reading. There are several websites where students can read books or articles online. The computer will help with words the student cannot read independently. Libraries also have computers students can use to access those sites. Feel free to ask a librarian or teacher for suggestions.

Ideas from Council of the Great City Schools

Everyday Family Activities 

  • Setting aside at least 15 minutes per day for family reading.
  • Making books available around your home. Set aside library time and visit the library often. Get a library card for your child or help him/her check out books. Books may also be found at thrift stores.
  • Reading a variety of stories (fairy tales, folk tales, classics, etc.) to your first grade child.
  • Look at pictures and discuss before reading. Before finishing the story, ask the child to predict a possible outcome. Set a good example by reading yourself.
  • Listen to your child read stories to you and talk about the story. Encourage and model using the dictionary.
  • Playing letter sound games with your child at the store, at home, or anywhere; e.g., as you pass shelves in the store, read some labels for your child. Select labels that begin with one certain letter: tomatoes, toothpaste, tangerines, or towels. Ask, "What sound do you hear at the beginning?" If your child does not know, say the sound while pointing to the letter (T) and repeating the name of the product on which it appears. Car/travel games: "I'm thinking of a word that starts with A that's for a shiny fruit."
  • When your child can read, making sure that he/she reads books that are not too difficult for him/her. A rule of thumb is if your child misses five words on the first page of a book, the material is too difficult. Find a book that is easier to read.
  • Helping your child put his/her books in alphabetical order on his/her bookshelves.
  • Learning a new word as often as possible. Use this word often so that is becomes a part of your child's vocabulary.
  • Talking to your child about your favorite books, such as books that you remember from your childhood and books that you are currently reading.
  • Asking your child to tell you three things of his/her school day. Sit down, listen, and maintain eye contact. Be generous with praise and understanding. This is a good end-of-the-day unwinding activity.
  • Encouraging your child to write Thank You letters, pen-pal, or friendly letters to family and acquaintances. Write notes to your child and encourage written response. Encourage your child to write each day in a journal.
  • Putting spelling list from school in a prominent place (on bulletin board or refrigerator). Assist your child by dictating words as a practice test before final test in school. Play spelling games.
  • Going over papers brought home from school and STRESSING the progress your child is making in writing, spelling, and penmanship. Display his/her favorite papers in a prominent place for all the family to enjoy.
  • Being selective in television viewing and computer usage and time allotted to both.
  • Talk about the programs and use the TV guide to choose programs.
  • Listening quietly to sounds. Have your child identify traffic, heart beat, dog barking. Listening attentively is essential to learning.
  • Picking an object and having your child give as many words as possible to describe it. This will develop oral language.
  • Playing “Opposites”: Adult says a word; child says the opposite. Example: Adult says "up"; child says "down."
  • Playing “Same”: Adult says a word; child says a word that means the same. Example: Adult: Large. Child: Big.
  • Reading short stories for pleasure. Have your child retell the story. Ask "wh" questions, i.e., who, what, where, when, why.

Ideas from Fremont Unified School District, CA 



Additional Activities

Taking a Sound Hike

Activity Description

Boom! Br-r-ring! Cluck! Moo!-everywhere you turn, you're bound to find exciting sounds. Whether taking a sound hike at the mall, a near-by park, or on a family trip, ask children to notice the sounds they hear and then use sound words as they write their own books, modeled on Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?


Why This Is Helpful

By focusing on sound words, this activity helps children develop reading and spelling strategies. As children focus on sound words, they begin with their ability to listen to and mimic the sounds. From this beginning step, they move on to use spelling strategies to create the letters and letter combinations that represent those sounds.


All About Me! Use Photos to Write Stories

Activity Description

Children love to share stories about themselves, whether telling how they learned to ride a bike or how they caught their first fish. Photographs can be a great way to help children tell their stories, reminding them of details they might not remember on their own. This activity has children write about photos and then choose their favorite sentences for a homemade memory book.


Why This Is Helpful

Part of learning to write well is learning to plan what we write and learning to write sentences about specific topics. This activity helps children plan and write clear descriptions of pictures before creating stories about their lives. In addition, when children read and write about their own lives they improve their understanding of their families and the places where they live and visit. It can also help get them excited to read and write because the topic is important and interesting to them.



Technology Resources for Parents

Scholastic for Parents


Harcourt Trophies (Resources for parents, teachers and students)

Kids Research Portal (Kentucky Virtual Library - How to do Research)

NBC Learn  Explore NBC Learn for  offers unique collections of video resources, primary sources, historic footage, images, mini-documentaries and text resources designed for use in the K-12 classroom.

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