First Grade Standards

Your child will build on the skills they learned in kindergarten. They will begin to read words more fluidly and writing clear sentences. They will use what they've learned about numbers to gain a better understanding of place values to help them add and subtract bigger numbers.  

Use this page to find out what you can expect your child to learn and talk about when they come home. You can also use this information to talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s progress throughout the year. You can also explore this site to find general information about learning standards, how they relate to Common Core and standardized testing.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning, we welcome you to talk with your child’s teacher.

Resources to Help at Home

Here are organizations with tips and resources you can use to help your child at home:

  • National PTA Parent's Guide to Success in First Grade (pdf): Includes key skills, activities you can do at home, and tips for talking to your child's teacher (in Spanish)
  • Khan Academy: Includes interactive exercises and videos to help in math, science, economics, computing and arts and humanities
  • Great Kids First Grade Milestones: Includes videos to help you see what your child should be able to demonstrate in critical areas by the end of the year
  • Be a Learning Hero: Allows parents to search by state, grade and subject to find homework support resources
  • Raise the Bar Parents: provides  educational 'checkups' they to see if your child is making progress toward meeting the standards. The site also includes resources to help students improve

Your child’s teachers can also share more tips and suggest activities to strengthen your child’s skills at home. 

English Language Arts: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking

In first grade, students will build important reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. They will continue to learn the letters and sounds that make up words. They will think, talk and write about what they read in stories, articles and other sources of information. In their writing, students will work on putting together clear sentences on a range of topics using a growing vocabulary.


  • Understand key ideas and details of fiction and nonfiction texts
  • Work with the authors' style and organization of a piece of fiction or nonfiction (known by teachers as craft and structure)
  • Use the information in illustrations and words to better understand the meaning of the text (known by teachers as integration of knowledge and ideas)
  • Read from a variety of selections of various complexity


  • Write arguments, informative and narrative styles
  • Plan, revise and edit their writing
  • Research to build and present knowledge
  • Write for a variety of tasks, purposes and audiences

Speaking & Listening

  • Prepare to participate in a range of conversations
  • Present information in a variety of formats to various audiences


  • Understand conventions of standard English grammar
  • Develop and use age-appropriate academic vocabulary 

Foundational Skills

  • Know and apply grade-level phonics to decode words
  • Increase reading fluency to better understand a text

For detailed information about ELA standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's English Language Arts Learning Standards page.



In first grade, students continue to work with whole numbers to quantify objects. They consider how numbers relate to one another. As they expand the set of numbers they work with, students start to develop critical concepts of ones and tens that introduce them to place value in our base 10 number system. An understanding of how ones and 10 relate to each other allows students to begin adding and subtracting two-digit numbers, where thinking of 10 ones as one 10 and vice versa is routine.

The Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12 describe behaviors that all students will develop in the Washington State Learning Standards. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies,” including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation and making connections. These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

Operations and algebraic thinking

  • Represents and solves problems involving addition and subtraction
  • Understands and applies properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction
  • Quickly recall addition and subtraction facts for sums to 10
  • Adds and subtracts within 20
  • Works with addition and subtraction equations

Number and operations in base 10

  • Extends the counting sequence
  • Understands place value
  • Uses place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract

Measurement and data

  • Measures lengths indirectly and by iterating length units
  • Tells and writes time
  • Represents and interprets data


Reasons with shapes and their attributes
For detailed information about math standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website


Our state is currently in the process of updating science standards and this transition is expected to take several years. Many elements of these standards already appear in our classrooms. Our new state science standards are designed to help your child learn to answer questions and solve problems using scientific and engineering practices. Your child will learn about the core ideas, the practices, and the key concepts used by scientist and engineers in the real world. Each year, your child will build on what they learned in earlier grades. Your child may learn skills and knowledge in these broad areas:

Science and Engineering Practices

Science instruction at most grade-levels will include the following practices:

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models, such as diagrams, drawings or computer simulations 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The following areas of study will all be addressed over time:

  • Physical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth and space sciences
  • Engineering, technology and applications of science

Crosscutting Concepts

Students will learn about the following important concepts that span across all fields of science and engineering:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation 
  • Scale, proportion and quantity 
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation 
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change

Social Studies

Through units of study focusing on the classroom and families, students will build knowledge and skills in history, geography, economics and civics with the goal of developing responsible citizenship.

  • Understands the concepts and content including rule systems, school and family and introductory map skills
  • Applies research skills (acquires, organizes and presents information)Participates in projects and activities

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website

Health & Fitness

  • Demonstrates a variety of movement patterns (skips, throws, jogs, etc.) at a variety of levels (high, medium, low) 
  • Maintains body control in general and personal space 
  • Understands and applies safety rules and procedures

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website

Arts & Music

In the visual arts, music and creative movement, students acquire knowledge and skills to create, perform and respond in the arts and in other content areas.

Visual Arts

  • Identifies lines and shapes
  • Mixes secondary colors from primary colors
  • Uses repetition to create pattern


  • Recognizes and echoes pitches, dynamics, beat, and rhythms
  • Experience, explore and discover pitch and melody, dynamics, tempo, and sound sources as they use their voices, bodies, and instruments in games and activities
  • Discover traditional children’s songs, nursery rhymes, folk songs, classical music, and world music
  • Begin to develop singing and playing skills and techniques while exploring the elements of music

For detailed information about arts learning standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website