First Grade Resources

Phonological Awareness

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Give me a thumbs up when you hear a word with a short vowel sound: pet, Pete, cup, cap, cape ...

Robot Talk: The parent will produce individual sounds in a mystery word, pausing between each sound in a robotic manner. It is your child’s job to blend the sounds together to produce the whole word. Ex. Guess my mystery word: /c/ /l/ /i/ /p/ The child would reply, “clip.”

Guess My Sound: Say a word with 3 sounds. Ask: What sound do you hear at the (beginning, middle, or end) of the word _____? (ex: dog, kite, peach)

Online Resources for Parents 
Phonological Awareness Activities
Say and Slide Word (Video)
Say and Slide Words

Using letter tiles, magnet letters, or letters written on index cards, have students sort capital letters and lowercase letters.

Using a magazine, advertisement or even junk mail, mark capital letters that begin new sentences with a highlighter or crayon. Circle ending punctuation marks.

Using any book or text, have your child “frame” a sentence using two fingers. Place one finger at the beginning of the sentence and one at the end of the sentence.

Read Decodable Texts: Decodable text is a type of text used in beginning reading instruction. Decodable texts are carefully sequenced to progressively incorporate words that are consistent with the letter–sound relationships. Click here for links, compiled by The Reading League, for a list of decodable text sources for students in grades K-2, 3-8, teens, and all ages.

Let’s Cut Up! Write two syllable words on index cards. Ask your child to cut the word where the two syllables divide. The word rabbit would be cut into two parts: rab bit.

Sight Words and Nerf™ Blasters: Write irregularly spelled words on index cards, a dry erase board, or even your sidewalk … Call out a word for your child to find. Your child can read and blast the word.

Online Resources for Students
Capital Letter Game
Parts of a Sentence
Sight Word Hopper
Teach Your Monster To Read
Clap It Out

Online Resources for Parents
Print Awareness
Promoting Print Awareness
Build A Sentence
15 Phonic Rules for Writing and Spelling
Digraph Delights
Silent E Changes

Online Resources for Students
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Teach Your Monster To Read

Online Resources for Parents
Reading with Expression
What Reading Fluency Looks Like in First Grade


Help your child understand the meaning of unknown words and phrases by asking him/her clarifying questions:

• What strategies have you used to help you figure out what this word means?

• Have you read the sentences around the word to help you determine what the word means?

• There are two words you know in this word. Can you use them to help you understand what the word means?


Word Bubble

Create a word bubble by drawing a large circle in the middle of a piece of paper. Write a word inside the bubble that has several synonyms (words that have similar meanings such as “run/jog” or “look/gaze”). Have your child think of as many possible words that are similar in meaning to the word written on the inside of the bubble. Write those words around the outside of the bubble. Add new words to your bubble as you read future stories and acquire more words! (e.g., big = large, gigantic, enormous, massive, huge).

Online Resources for Students
ABC Order
Sort, Sort
Prefix or Suffix

Online Resources for Parents
Ways to Boost Your Child's Vocabulary
Words in Context

Building Your Child's Vocabulary

Reading Comprehension Literature

Before Reading: Ask questions such as: What will this book be about? How do you know? What is the title of this story? What clues does the title give us about the story?

During Reading: Ask questions such as: What do you think will happen next? Where is this story taking place? What is the main problem?

After Reading: DIY Question Ball

1. Buy a cheap beach ball.

2. Blow it up and set it on a bowl.

3. Use puff paint or permanent marker to write a question word in each section.

a. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

4. Let it dry and get ready to play!

Online Resources for Students
Story Outline
Jack Hartmann: Six Questions


Online Resources for Parents
Reading Rockets: Story Maps
Scholastic: Bookmark Questions
Make-and-Check a Prediction

Reading Comprehension-Informational Text

Before reading: Take a “walk” through the book before reading. Looking closely at the front cover, table of contents, and photographs. This will help your little reader get a sense about the topic.


During reading: Encourage your child to ask questions. Use the Expository Fact Strips to keep track of what your reader is learning.


After reading: Draw a picture to show what the book was mainly about. Label the picture.

Online Resources for Students
PBS Kids
Nat Geo Kids
What's The Main Idea?

Online Resources for Parents
Reading Rockets
Expository Fact Strips

Oral Language

Encourage conversations in your home and in social settings. Every social interaction gives your child a new opportunity to practice using oral language.

Spark interactions whenever you can and support your child’s language development. Ask questions, rephrase the child’s answers, and give prompts that encourage the oral conversations to continue.

Maintain eye contact when your child is speaking to you and encourage your child to do the same when you are speaking, in order to support his/her listening skills.

Online Resources for Parents
Strategies to Encourage Your Child's Speech and Language Development
The Family Dinner Project
Expanded Your Child's Vocabulary
Scholastic Listening and Learning


Step 1: Families can read a text and share their feelings about the text by forming an opinion statement using the sentence starter: I liked (state the title of the book) because … OR I didn’t like (state the title of the book) because…

Step 2: Draw a picture that represents what you liked or disliked. Write a sentence using the previous sentence starter.

Step 3: On the back of your paper, leave a message for the audience as a way to close the writing. Ex. I think you should give this book a try. This book is a winner!

Online Resources for Students
Writing A Personal Narrative
Craft a Kid's Journal

Online Resources for Parents
Playing with Poetry
Diverse Poetry Picture Books
Helping Young Kids Write