What Should My 8 Year Old Know?

An 8-year-old child is typically a 2nd or 3rd grade student who feels and acts more independently than he did at age seven. Continue reading to learn about 8-year-olds and the topics they typically study at school.

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What Does an 8-year-old Learn in School?

Common Developmental Traits

Eight-year-olds often form peer groups and may become more influenced by their friends' opinions than they were at age seven; this said, family is still the largest influence. Children at this age should be capable of participating in humorous exchanges, such as telling jokes or relaying funny stories. Eight-year-olds typically have a strong moral code and may partition actions into good verses bad. If you're helping an 8-year-old with her schoolwork, it's useful to consistently review the skills she's expected to know while you simultaneously praise the skills she's already mastered.

English Language Arts

At this age, students should be able to recognize commonly encountered words and use surrounding phrases to discover the meaning of an unknown word within a sentence. If they can't discern the meaning of a word, they should be comfortable looking up the word in a dictionary. When discussing texts at school, they may be asked to locate details within a text and to name the genre of a creative text (realistic fiction, poetry, fairy-tale, myth or fable.) An 8-year-old should also be able to find a passage's main idea, recognize a story's point-of-view and discuss characters, plot, tone or setting.

Eight-year-olds can often read age-appropriate stories and poems aloud without pausing. When they mispronounce a word, they may be expected to recognize that the word does not sound right and in certain instances, to self-correct their pronunciation.

They're likely going to complete assignments that require them to write short opinion-oriented essays, age-appropriate poetry, narrative stories and informational reports organized with titles, headings and subheadings. For these tasks, 8-year-olds are commonly asked to write in complete sentences that display basic familiarity with subject and verb agreement, present and past verb tenses, use of possessive nouns and quotation marks. Finally, they should be competent at writing sentences in print and cursive handwriting formats.


At this age, students are gaining proficiency in their ability to add and subtract 3-digit whole numbers while they continue developing their capacity to compute numbers through multiplication. They may be asked to write and compare whole numbers up to 10,000 in numeral and expanded notation formats. They should also be able to count money, which requires a basic understanding of decimal math. Geometry lessons may teach 8-year-old students to identify varied polygons and to locate the difference between a polygon's perimeter and area. Finally, 8-year-olds may practice learning to interpret bar graphs and to recognize units of measurement.

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