Homework Helper for Grade 1 Reading

The first grade may be the first time a child is faced with reading homework. While the homework may seem simple, parents sometimes need to take on the role of homework helper. Read on to learn more about helping your first grade aged child with his or her reading homework.

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The word homework may be scary for many students when they first hear it. This is especially true if they have older siblings who complain about their homework. The initial fear or discomfort may cause parents to fulfill the role as homework helper, even if the child understands the skills they are learning in class.

The following article discusses some of the English standards that have been set by the California Department of Education. However, please keep in mind that these standards may vary from state to state. Contact your local school board or state board of education to determine the regulations surrounding your local curriculum.

Coursework for Grade One Reading

First graders in California are expected to understand the basic features of reading by the end of the school year. This includes translating written letter patterns into the spoken language through skills such as phonics, syllabication, and word parts.

Students will learn to match oral words to printed words through recognition and repetition. In order to accomplish this, teachers often send students home with basic books for them to read with their parents. If this is the homework that your child receives, parents can give help by setting aside a time to read as a family.

Allow the child to read as much as they can and help them sound out the words they have problems with. A great way to help the child learn their 'problem' words is by keeping a list of the words that they need help with. Have the child repeat these words a few times after finishing the book.

Reading Comprehension

First graders are introduced to reading comprehension, meaning they are expected to read and understand age-appropriate material. Comprehension strategies, as outlined by the California Department of Education, may include generating/responding to questions, making predictions and comparing information from several sources. There are many ways to progress in reading comprehension. Teachers may ask students to complete a variety of tactics in their English homework, including:

  • Identify the text that uses sequence or other logical orders
  • Respond to basic who, what, when, where, and how questions after completion of the reading
  • Confirm the student's predictions regarding what will happen next through identification of key words
  • Relate prior knowledge to reading material
  • Identify and/or describe elements of a plot including setting, characters and the story's begging, middle and ending.

Even if the teacher does not assign worksheets or other homework that reinforces these skills, parents can aid their child in gaining reading comprehension skills by asking questions to their child.


Students are taught to write clear and coherent sentences and simple paragraphs. In California, and many other states, students are expected to learn the basics of the various stages in the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising and editing.

Writing is reflected in a student's homework through penmanship. Many teachers assign worksheets in which a child traces letters and produces their own letters. Parents play the role of homework helper by monitoring their child's penmanship, not only with these worksheets, but on all other assignments as well.

First graders may also be asked to write brief narratives or expository descriptions of an object, person, place or event. Parents can help their child by brainstorming and leading them through the various stages in the writing process.

Homework does not have to be scary or intimidating for first graders. By playing an encouraging and supportive role with first grade English homework, parents are helping their children learn and establish a strong work ethic.

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