First Grade Core Standards for Language Arts

1st Grade Common Core Standards for Language Arts

Report cards are coming home today!

Is this a phrase causing a round of anxiety for both you as a parent, as well as for your young student? A bout of nerves for everyone involved is even more likely to be the case if your young scholar has been receiving less-than-ideal grades in key areas.

But report cards are sometimes hard for caregivers to translate and understand in terms of identifying where they can focus their at-home studying efforts to boost grade scores. Although specific standards may vary by state, here are some breakdowns as to how a student’s performance is frequently measured by standardized tests…as well as some hints that may prove helpful when it comes to giving your child some extra help outside of the classroom. These identifiers may also be helpful for those designing curriculum when home-schooling their students.


For many states, the first grade learning objectives for math, reading/comprehension, language arts and math are broken down into specific points so that specific skills can be measured.

The First Grade year, in particular, is often where teachers are hoping to nurture and see both visible and measureable proficiency growth in language arts. Major milestones often expected at this level include:

  • An ability to ask and answer questions about key details shared within a text
  • A capability to identify a story’s main topic and retell key details after reading a story
  • Competency in describing the main connection between two events, individuals, ideas or other key pieces of information provided in a reading selection

In addition, key achievements in evaluating the craft and structure of various writings are also often evaluated at the first-grade level. Students may be asked to complete the following tasks during a test:

  • Can you ask and answer questions to determine or clarify word meanings and phrases from a text selection?
  • Can you identify various text features (headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) in an effort to help locate key facts or information presented?
  • Can you distinguish between information provided by pictures or illustrations and information provided by the words in a story?

Finally, language arts testing for students at this level often include an evaluation of how well young scholars can integrate ideas and information offered and use these ideas in their own critical thinking. Challenges posed after reading a story selection may be as follows:

  • Please use pictures, illustrations and/or other key details in a text to describe the main idea of key point of the story.
  • Please identify the reasons or supporting points the author is using to defend his or her argument.
  • Please describe both the basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same subject.

Study Tips

Many first-graders will likely begin to transition from pre-reading to building crucial language skills in reading, spelling and writing during this year. Adults or older siblings may find it very beneficial to read an assortment of short stories and poems to their first-grader…and then go back through the story and note periods and uppercase letter conventions. For example, after a period occurs at the end of the sentence, the new sentence automatically begins with a capital letter. Read the story again, and then ask the child to invent new alternative endings or a sequel to the tale. What is the big idea or lesson of the story shared? Lastly, have your first grader write in a journal something they would like to share about what they’ve just read.