First Grade Readiness Checklist
1. Does your child know the entire alphabet, along with all the accompanying sounds in capital and lowercase?
2. Does your child read two and three letter words easily?
3. Does your child count from 1 to 100 and back down from 100 to 1?
4. Does your child understand, create, and identify simple patterns?
5. Does your child write his/her first and last name?
6. Does your child write simple sentences, such as "The cat is fat"?
7. Does your child write all 26 letters in capital and lowercase? (Note: They don't have to be perfectly neat, just legible and not upside down or backwards)
8. Does your child recognize and identify all of the basic colors
9. Does your child skip count by 2's, 5's, and 10's up to at least 100? (2,4,6,8...and 5,10,15,20...)
10. Does your child write all of the numbers between 1 and 100?
11. Does your child know basic word families? (at, bat, cat, fat go together & an, ban, can, Dan, fan go together)
12. Does your child recognize and identify basic shapes?
13. Does your child recognize and identify basic coins (dollar coin, 50 cent piece, quarter, dime, and nickel) and their value?
14. Does your child know the difference between consonants and vowels?
15. Does your child understand comparisons/opposites? (greater than/less than, hot/cold, shorter/taller...)
16. Does your child know that sentences start with a capital letter?
17. Does your child know that sentences end with a period?
18. Does your child know that questions end with a question mark?
19. Does your child tell time on the hour and half hour?
20. Does your child understand and recognize rhyming words?
21. Does your child recognize and understand one-half?
22. Does your child speak in complete sentences?
23. Does your child mark vowels in a word or sentence if asked?
24. Does your child complete assignments based on oral direction? (draw a red line over the cat, circle the blue monkey...)
25. Does your child read months and days on a calendar?
26. Does your child make it until 4 pm without a nap?
If your child can complete these skills well, she should be well prepared for first grade. While this may not be an accurate list for every school district (as standards vary), it can help you determine some of the skills required for your child to start first grade smoothly.
If you notice that your child lacks some of these essential first grade skills, do not worry or stress. Take time out each day to focus on one skill at a time. Not all children learn things at the same speed. Each child is unique. While one 6 year old may be able to complete them all or be ahead of them, another 6 year old may only be able to do 10 or so.
The important thing to remember is to take it slow and not get frustrated with your almost first grader. Just because "Sally" can read a chapter book, it does not make her better than "Susan", who cannot. Try many different methods of teaching your child a first grade readiness skill. If one method doesn't work, try another.
Children whose parents focus on the positive efforts they make, rather than the skills they can't master, fare better in school. A child who is yelled at, rushed, or forced to do schoolwork is more likely to fail in school than a child who is encouraged for her strengths, rather than belittled for her weaknesses.