Want to make sure your child is on track with kindergarten? Check these 12 milestones to see what every kindergartener should know before entering first grade.
I found a section on greatschools.org where I learned what every kindergartener should know before the end of the year. Here, I gathered 12 skills and wanted to share them with you.
What every kindergartener should know by the end of the year
Covering three topics—reading, writing and math—check if your child can do these challenges. If she can, great! If not, now you’ll know what she can work on.
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Your child can correct words she misses
Have your child read books aloud with you. When she says a word incorrectly, cans he correct himself? If she hasn’t, correct a few words for her to encourage her to do the same.
Your child can tell you what he thinks a new word means
While reading together, point out an unfamiliar word and ask your child what she thinks it means. Don’t worry if she’s wrong. If she struggles with coming up with a definition, help her place the word in context so she can make a guess. If she’s still stumped, tell her what the word means (this is, after all, another way she’ll learn!).
Your child can retell a story
After reading a book, ask your child to tell you what the story is about. If she feels “put on the spot,” ask later in the day. “Remember that cool book we read earlier today about the numbers going up the tree? How did that go again?”
Your child can answer a question about the story
Read a book together, then later ask a question about the story. Ask open ended questions like, “Why do you think Ernst doesn’t want to give up the tail?” or fact-based questions like, “Why couldn’t they put the tail back on the dog?”
Your child can find a picture referencing something that happened in the story
After reading a book, ask your child to turn to the page where a particular scene happened in the story. For instance, when reading The Plot Chickens, ask her to turn to the page where Henrietta decides to make her own books.
Your child can tell you what he learned from the story
Reading offers everyone—child and adult—information we never knew until having read it. When reading a book, ask your child to tell you something new she learned. Be specific and don’t just ask, “What’s something new you learned from the book?” (that might be too overwhelming to answer). Instead, ask, “How many people did the book say built the Golden Gate Bridge?”
Your child can add numbers between 1 to 5 from memory
Ask your child addition question using any number combination between 1 and 5, such as “What’s…
- 1 + 3?”
- 4 + 5?”
- 3 + 3?”
By the end of the year,she should be able to tell you the answer from her head, instead of counting with props. She doesn’t have to respond quickly, but she should be able to answer without counting.
Your child can show you how to add or subtract
Your kindergartener should be able to show you the concepts of adding and subtracting. Have her draw circles to illustrate a math problem. For example:
- “Can you draw for me, using circles, what 3 + 2 looks like?”
- “If you had 7 squares and I took away 3, would you be able to draw that for me?”
With addition, your child should do something like draw 3 circles then 2 more. With subtraction, she should be able to draw 7 squares then cross out or color 3 of them.
Using props, your child can show you a math problem between the 1 and 10
Here’s a simple task you can try using Lego of different colors. Place several red, yellow and blue Lego in front of your child. Ask her to pretend the the red Lego are apples, the yellow are lemons and the blue are blueberries. Then present several math problems using a fictional farmer who needs to add or subtract:
- “The farmer needs to put together a basket with 8 fruits. Can you put 8 fruits in a pretend basket for me?”
- “Now he needs to make another basket, also with 8 fruits. Which fruits can he put in this basket?”
- “The farmer put all 5 apples in the basket, but he still needs 8 fruits in it. What other fruits can he put in there?”
Your child can learn about a topic
Your child should know how to do basic research, information gathering and writing composition. Just like writing a paper—kindergarten-style. It’s not as crazy as it seems. Let’s take a look:
Choose a topic you and your child can learn about. Let’s say he wants to learn about how a seed grows. Borrow books like How a Seed Grows that illustrate this process. Print or bring “props” to give more information. (In the adult word, “props” are what we would call the ‘notes’ we refer to when writing a paper.)
In this example, your props can be an avocado seed or a picture of a seed with roots sprouting beneath.
Your child can write an introduction or topic sentence
By the end of the year, kindergarteners should know how to write a coherent introduction to a story. After telling you what she learned about seeds, ask her to create and write a topic sentence for his paper. For instance, he might say: “How a seed grows.”
Your child can use notes and props to write and draw the main body
Using the book and props in front of her, have your child write the main body of her “paper.” Ask what comes first, or have her refer to the book or the props for help.
A typical answer might be: “Put the seed in the soil. Give it water and sun. The roots will grow. Then the leaves grow out of the stem.” Have your child draw illustrations in the space above.
I created a template for your child to write simple essays. The first few lines are for the essay topic, followed with pictures. Then finally, below are several lines to fill in with the information he has learned. Download it below, FREE!
Do all these questions happen on the same day, or from reading the same book? No, your child will feel overwhelmed if he’s quizzed in what has been a leisure activity.
For all these milestones, ask one question per day or every other day at most. Don’t pressure him to know more than he should, and set realistic expectations. The best way to see if he can do these skills is over time. (For instance, there’s no way you can plan to see if he can correct himself after missing a word.)
Remember when your pediatrician would ask if your child can follow two-phrase directions? Or if she can track an item moving across her face? It’s something like that. Sometimes you’ll remember, other times you have no idea and will need to keep an eye out for. Same thing here.
Like all milestones, not everyone reaches them at the same time. The even better news about milestones is they give you a goal or a benchmark to measure progress.
Because you may wonder what exactly she should know when she enters first grade. Now you’re aware of what your kindergartener should know and the tools to achieve them.
Get more tips:
- How to Teach Our Kids to Embrace Mistakes
- Homework Tips: Crucial Mistakes You Should Definitely Avoid
- How to Respond when Your Child Makes a Mistake
- How to Raise a Smart Child
- Teaching Resilience and Perseverance: How to Raise Kids with Grit
Tell me in the comments: What milestones are you not sure your child can do and would like to try?
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