First Grade Reading Lesson Plans
As we inch our way into August, teachers are beginning to hear their favorite back-to-school buzzwords. Among them?
Whether you’re a parent or educator of a first grader, designing the best first grade reading plans can pose a serious challenge. Especially when your first grader is in “summer mode,” even broaching the subject of lesson plans can feel scary to adults and children alike. To minimize stress on the first day of school, it’s best to identify and gradually build a reading plan that includes the main learning points of developing readers (link) in first grade. First grade reading can and should be fun - and our ideas for grade-appropriate lesson plans are designed to maximize fun, learning, and self-confidence in the first-grade classroom.
What Do 1st Graders Learn in Reading?
Many first graders are emergent readers, which means they’re just beginning to learn the basics of reading. Every child varies in their rate of reading progress, but many first graders will accomplish several key reading goals by the end of their academic year. In anticipation of these milestones, you can expect students to work on the following skills in a standard first-grade reading lesson plan:
- Sounding out syllables to break up words and read them aloud.
- Understanding and explaining the basic features of a sentence, such as the first words, first letter of a word, and rules of capitalization.
- Recognizing common sight words that enhance overall reading fluency.
- Explaining the basic difference between fiction and non-fiction texts.
- Identifying different characters, events, and main ideas in a book.
- Recognizing digraphs: two letters that represent one sound, such as gh, th, and sh.
Remember: these are overarching skills that many readers - but not all - develop during their first-grade year. When teachers consider how to teach 1st-grade reading, they are encouraged to consider these common developmental skills and the unique needs of their students, which may call for different reading goals and lesson plans.
First Grade Reading Lesson Plans Example
When designing a first grade reading lesson plan, the first thing teachers must identify are the learning objectives. Whether students are learning to read at home or in the classroom, all lesson plans should include learning objectives that clearly outline the goal of the reading lesson. For a first-grade reader, learning objectives may include:
- Increasing reading comprehension by identifying the story elements of a text: usually, the characters, setting, and main events
- Reading grade-level words with irregular spellings, such as
- Understanding the many jobs of the “Silent E”
After defining the learning objectives, a first grade reading lesson plan will typically include the following features:
- Specific planned activities that address the learning objectives
- The sequence of these activities and any assessments to check students’ progress
- A realistic timeline for the lesson to be completed
- A plan for closing the lesson: this may include reflection questions for the students and/or the teacher(s) to create a sense of closure and begin the transition to the next lesson
How To Teach 1st-Grade Reading
No first grader - or any reader, for that matter - learns to read in the same way. That said, we advocate several expert-endorsed reading activities to support a range of first graders toward their reading goals. As you design a first grade reading lesson plan rooted in the science of reading, consider the following 1st-grade reading activities to boost your students’ reading success:
- Expressive Reading: When reading books aloud, use different voices for different characters and narrators to model expression and pacing in a story. Doing this with a group of readers will make reading feel more like a show and less of a chore!
- Reading Notebook: Encourage students to be their own “reading scientists” by recording new words and reading observations in a “reading notebook.” A homemade notebook with their own words and illustrations will make the reading journey feel like a special mission.
- Write a Book: Who said first-graders are too young to publish a novel? Encourage creativity and challenge their writing chops by asking students to write and illustrate a story from their lives. This common first-grade reading activity gets students excited to read, write, and share their personal stories with friends and loved ones.
- Most first graders are still developing basic reading skills such as recognizing sight words, breaking down words based on their syllables, and understanding the basic features of a story.
- To solidify these skills, teachers and parents are encouraged to design first grade reading lesson plans that target these grade-level skills, while also considering the varied needs and interests of individual readers.
- Using a combination of creativity, group discussion, and playful storytelling, the best first grade reading activities will enhance young readers’ skills and excitement about reading.
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