First Grade Reading Lesson Plans and Activities

As a first grade teacher, you will likely find that reading is a central topic in many of the lessons that you need to plan. Continue reading for information about first grade reading lesson plans and fun activities that you can do with your class.

Find available tutors

Plans for Teaching First Grade Reading

What First Graders Need to Learn

Although core English/language arts standards vary from state to state and school to school, there are basic similarities in what students will be expected to do by the end of the school year. First graders usually gain a knowledge of sight words, like 'the', 'as' and 'but'. They'll also learn to decode words using word parts and syllables. In addition, they work to increase reading comprehension and fluency.

New Words and Word Parts

Whether you're teaching your class root words, sight words, vocabulary or letter blends, flashcards are a useful tool. For example, if you're teaching sight words, write the words on cards large enough for your entire class to see. Go through the cards repeatedly and have your first graders call out the correct word on each card.

To teach word parts, write the different parts on flashcards. If you have a magnetic white board in your classroom, you can glue magnets to the back of the cards and put the cards on the board. Help your class combine the word parts to create words they know. Divide your class into teams and make it a lighthearted game.

Reading Comprehension

A basic reading comprehension lesson can be categorized into three main parts: pre-reading, reading and post-reading. For pre-reading, look at the front cover, back cover, sleeves, table of contents, index, chapters, illustrations and any other components a book may have. Discuss all these elements in detail as a class.

While reading, be sure to stop occasionally and ask questions that challenge your first graders to think critically about the text. For example, ask your students to come up with reasons why characters may have behaved as they did. Encourage your students to predict what will happen later in the narrative.

After you've finished reading, have your students discuss the text and ask them questions about it. How did the book make them feel? Are there any adjectives that can describe the story, such as 'funny' or 'scary'?

Teaching Fluency

Reading fluency is a person's ability to read words quickly and without errors. Begin by teaching different sound combinations so that your students can remember these combinations later on while reading.

Teach two different sound combinations to your students during a 10-15 minute mini-lesson. During the lesson, introduce the combinations and allow your students several opportunities to read words using those sounds. Then, divide the class into groups and give the students cards that have different word sounds on them. Your students can then combine the sounds to make complete words.

Read your first graders a story from an oversized book that uses words that have similar sound combinations. Challenge your students to locate all of the words containing that sound. If you can write in the book, circle all of those words. If you can't, highlight the words with clear, removable tape. Give students copies of the story to practice reading independently.

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