How to Bridge the Gap From Kindergarten to First Grade

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Your child has worked on many new skills during the kindergarten year. Many of these must be mastered before he goes to first grade to ensure that the transition will be successful. If your child has struggled in some areas during kindergarten, you can help bridge the gap by reviewing specific skills and reinforcing classroom instruction through the summer.

2Phonics

Your child learned the names of letters and their sounds in kindergarten. He also learned how to blend these sounds to make simple words. In first grade, the words will be longer and will consist of long vowel sounds and blends. Help your child read stories that contain these words and listen as he sounds out the words. When he encounters a new sound, teach it to him, then tell him other words that have this sound but are spelled differently. For example, if he sees the word "loud," tell him "ou" says "ow" as in cow even though "cow" is spelled with an "ow."

3Math

When your child enters first grade, the teacher will expect him to be able to count aloud and write to 100. She will begin math instruction reviewing basic skills including counting, number recognition, and simple addition and subtraction. Kindergarten teachers cover all these skills, but your child may not have mastered all of them. This is especially true of adding and subtracting because they are second-semester objectives. Practice both of these as much as possible in a variety of ways. Write addition and subtraction problems on paper and give your child objects such as toothpicks or pennies to solve them. Reinforce his mental math ability by dictating a word problem such as, "Your brother has 20 toy cars, but he lost 10. How many does he have now?"

4Writing

Your child's writing ability has progressed from scribbling to writing letters, numbers and simple sentences by the end of the year. Kindergarten teachers stress capitalizing the first word of the sentence and writing a period or question mark at the end of it. More punctuation will be taught in first grade, along with writing simple paragraphs composed of three to five sentences. You can help your child by having him copy sentences that you write and then asking him to think of his own sentences on a topic. Help him correct spelling errors but focus on neatness, spacing and completeness.

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.