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What You Can Expect in: 4th Grade

From skills to social development - how your 4th grader will grow this year


Schoolgirls (4-7) using laptop, smiling
Jose Luis Pelaez/The Image Bank/Getty Images

This is approximately the age at which teachers say children experience a shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Fourth graders will use reference books and the internet to find the information they need for schoolwork. Fourth grade math, reading and other subject will be more challenging, as will homework, which may take as much as an hour or more to do each night.

Fourth graders will also need to begin getting themselves ready for the transition to middle school. This will be a good time for parents to make sure their 4th grader works on his ability to focus, stay organized and prioritize -- all skills he will need as he transitions into upper grades where he will be expected to work more independently and take more responsibility for himself.

Here is a general guideline of what you can expect to see in your 4th grader as he tackles 4th grade math, reading, and other subjects this school year.

Fourth Grade Social Skills

Your 4th grader will:

  • Gravitate toward certain friends. Friendship preferences may become more pronounced in 4th grade. (The downside to this can be the formation of cliques, especially for girls; peer pressure; and labeling others (nerd, cool, etc.).)
  • Take more responsibility for organizing and prioritizing her work. (If she needs help with these skills, now is a great time to step in, before the demands of middle school require even more self-discipline.)
  • Be more emphatic about expressing his preferences about things.
  • Demonstrate more competitiveness with peers.

Fourth Grade Reading and Writing

Your 4th grader will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the themes of a book by writing a book report.
  • Become familiar with a wide variety of stories such as fiction, non-fiction, myths, fables, poems, biographies, and more.
  • Increasingly use research materials to tackle a variety of subjects including fourth grade science and history.
  • Continue to build vocabulary list.
  • Learn synonyms, antonyms, homonyms.

Fourth Grade Math

Your 4th grader will:

  • Tackle increasingly difficult fractions, multiplication, division using multiple digits.
  • Begin geometry and algebra.
  • Learn how to collect data and convert the information into graphs, charts and tables.
  • Solve word problems that require logical-thinking skills and calculations.

Fourth Grade Science, Social Studies and Tech

Your 4th grader will:

  • Learn about electricity and other forms of energy and matter.
  • Study history (and historical figures) of the U.S.
  • Learn about other cultures around the world.
  • Learn how to read maps.
  • Know the geography of the U.S.
  • Classify organisms.

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