Elementary Concepts: Fourth Grade Reading

Parents often wonder if their fourth grade child is reading at a level acceptable for their age. This article offers a guide to help parents of fourth grade children determine if their children are on track with their reading development.

Find available tutors

Fourth grade students should be well on their way to reading proficiency. But many students have a hard time learning vocabulary words or comprehending the meaning of a text. This is why states have developed educational standards for subjects like reading.

Before entering the fifth grade a student should be able to use contextual features to predict the content and comprehend the subject they are reading about. They should understand glossaries, headings, sidebars, subheading, paragraphs, italics, and bolded and underlined words and phrases. A fifth grade student is also expected to combine their prior knowledge with these clues to make educated inferences about the text. By year's end students will will be expected to use charts and graphs to as a tool for organizing the information in a text, for increasing their reading comprehension, deciding what information to use in reports and studying for tests.

Fourth grade reading classes teach students to properly use a dictionary and thesaurus to help build their vocabulary. Fourth graders need to be able grasp word relationships like antonyms, homonyms, homophones, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms and word-origins, and utilize them in strategies for determining meaning.

Fourth graders must also understand the explicit and implicit ideas of text. This means they should know the essential message of the works they are reading and how the details are connected. They must be able to make inferences about the information that is presented and be able to distinguish between important and minor details of text and the chronological order of events that are in discussion. Fifth grade reading lessons will build on these essential skills, so it's crucial that a student masters them by the end of their fourth grade year.

Other major reading skills a fourth grader must acquire include knowing the characteristics of persuasive texts and distinguishing them from informational pieces. This requires a clear definition and understanding of fact, fiction and opinion. A student must be able to distinguish between these three characteristics in order to become a successful reader. It is also important to understand the concept of comparison and contrast and understand how it affects the meaning and impression of a piece of writing.

If you think your child is struggling with any of these skills or other concepts that are involved in their reading and writing homework, alert their teacher. Together you can brainstorm ways to help your student comprehend and master the necessary skills in time to build a firm foundation for the lessons of the coming years.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Can Reading Bridge Racial, Socioeconomic Gaps?

    Study after study shows the achievement gap in education between students of different cultures and economic backgrounds. Recently, two New Jersey schools successfully used literature to show students how 'the other half lives'. Can this experiment be a model for other schools to use books to bridge racial and socioeconomic...

  • More Blog Articles
    Too Much Emphasis on Reading and Math?

    According to a large number of surveyed educators who teach grades 3-12, U.S. public schools are spending too much time on reading and math and not enough on other subjects. Yes, math and reading are important. But what about science, foreign languages and social studies?

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth