First Grade

 During first grade, children continue to develop their oral language skills as well as learn to read, write and develop math skills.  Below are information regarding what to expect of a first grade child's speech and language skills.  Portions of the following information are taken from A Guide to School Services in Speech-Language Pathology by Trici Schraeder;  )

  • Uses 5 to 7 word utterances 
  • Produces all speech sounds correctly, with the exception of /r/, /s/, and /z/
  • Produces correct grammar including negatives, conjunctions, pronouns, plurals, verbs, noun-verb agreement, and correct word order.  
  • Asks questions with correct word order.
  • Uses compound sentences (2 simple sentences joined by a conjunction).
  • Retells a story using a 'first, next, then, and last' sequence
  • defines objects by use (i.e. A knife cuts.)
  • Initiates communication with others, engages in conversation with turn taking, adapts or changes conversation to fit the circumstance, stays on topic for 7 to 12 minutes, requests clarification, gives clarification
  • Names opposites (i.e. off/on, up/down, in/out...)

  • Responds to questions 80% of the time
  • Answers who, what, where, when, why and how questions
  • Follows two step directions
  • Creates a rhyme
  • Adds or deletes sounds to make new words
  • Blends sounds to make word parts and words with one to three syllables.
Speaking/Listening Common Core Standards:
  • Participates in conversations with partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups (follows agree-upon rules for discussions, responding to comments of others through multiple exchanges, ask questions to clear up any confusion)
  • Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally
  • Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly
  • Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation
Language Common Core Standards:
  • Uses common, proper and possessive nound
  • Uses singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop)
  • Uses personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g. I, me, my; they, them, their; anyone, everything)
  • Uses verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g. Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
  • Uses frequently occurring adjectives.
  • Uses frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
  • Uses determiners (e.g., articles <the, a>, demonstratives <this, that, these, those>).
  • Uses frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward)
  • Produces complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
    • Uses sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase
    • Uses frequently occurring affixes as a clue to the meaning of a word (e.g., dis-, un-)
    • Identifies frequently occurring root words (e.g., look) and their inflectional forms (e.g., looks, looked, looking)
  • With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
    • Sort words into categories (e.g., colors, clothing) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.
    • Define words by category and by one or more key attributes (e.g., a duck is a bird that swims; a tiger is a large cat with stripes).
    • Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at home that are cozy)
    • Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs differing in manner (e.g., look, peek, glance, stare, glare, scowl) and adjectives differing in intensity (e.g., large, gigantic) by defining or choosing them or by acting out the meanings.
  • Uses words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to be signal simple relationships (e.g., because)

Ways to improve Speech and Language Skills in First Grade:
  • Continue to read to your child.  Three books a day is a good rule of thumb.  Read a variety of kinds of books and talk about the stories and vocabulary.  As your child learns to read, one of the books may be read by your child to you.  However, reading to your child is still very important at this stage in his or her development.
  • Talk with your child.  Ask him or her questions and expect answers that are easily understood and on topic.  Your child has a longer processing time than an adult, so make sure that you wait ten to fifteen seconds between your question/comment and when you expect your child to answer.  Speaking too quickly may not give your child the time he or she needs to formulate a response.  SLOW DOWN.
  • Play games.  All sorts of games are great at this age.  Playing Chutes and Ladders is great for developing your child's number sense and Pictionary or Charades will give you good insight to your child's vocabulary skills. 
  • Your child should be able to write by now.  Have him or her practice by writing letters to family members, Thank You notes when given a gift and lists of what you need to buy at the store.  Your child will enjoy these responsibilities and they are great ways of improving written language skills.