The first grade school year is coming to an end, and as a parent your thoughts are probably turning towards second grade. Is your child ready for second grade reading? How can you be sure? On today’s post, I am going to discuss some really important first grade reading benchmarks that will help you determine if your child is on the right path to second grade reading.



First grade is a very big reading year. Children will begin the year sounding out basic consonant-vowel-consonant three letter words such as cat, sit, bog, etc. and progress to complex sentences, multisyllabic words, and word patterns.   

By the end of first grade, your child should be comfortable reading simple first grade books with fluency and comprehension. For a list of simple first grade books >CLICK HERE<

By the end of first grade, your child should have these first grade reading benchmarks accomplished:

  • Identify and sound out all beginning consonants, short, and long vowels
  • Read and spell words with digraphs such as th, sh, ch, wh
  • Apply simple spelling rules such as Floss Rule (ss,ll,ff, zz)
  • Read and spell words with initial and final blends (shrimp, mask, belt, etc.)
  • Use welded sounds in both reading and spelling (ang, ing, ong, ung, ank, ink, onk, unk)
  • Decode simple multisyllabic words (pancake, muffin, kitten, etc.)
  • Have strategies to decode multisyllabic and unfamiliar words
  • Identify nouns, proper nouns, verbs, and adjectives
  • Identify plurals and plural nouns
  • Identify contractions and apostrophes
  • Identify questions, exclamations, and quotations

Reading and Comprehending Stories and Poems


In addition to developing phonics and decoding strategies, your child should be able to comprehend and understand the language of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

By the end of first grade, your child should have these first grade reading benchmarks accomplished:

  • Demonstrate reading comprehension skills in a story or poem by asking and answering questions about it using the who, what, where, when, why and how prompts
  • Understand the difference between fiction, nonfiction and poetry
  • Identify the main parts of a story (e.g., main idea, setting, characters)
  • Read fluently with expression and intonation
  • Discuss a story or poem verbally
  • Understand and visualize how an author paints a picture with words 
  • Be able to summarize a story or text using sequencing skills
  • Be able to predict outcomes before, during and after the story
  • Be able to apply inferencing skills
  • Compare and contrast story elements of different stories, including setting, plot, characters and major events

 Sight Words


Sight words are common words like the, said, and he that children are expected to recognize instantly. By the end of first grade, a child typically has learned around 150 sight words or high frequency words. Sight words and high frequency words are those words that are very common in text and stories.  They account for up to 75% of  words used in beginning children’s stories and text.

Sight words have to be memorized so that the child can recognize them immediately (within three seconds) and read them without having to decode them.   

Although there is no specific age to master sight words, most educators believe that sight words should be mastered by first grade.  According to Timothy Shanahan, a child literacy expert, children should master 20 sight words by the end of Kindergarten and 100 sight words by the end of First Grade.

Do you have Concerns?


Not all children will develop and learn at the same pace and in the same way. Your child might be more advanced or need more help than others in their peer group. You the parent, are the best judge of your child’s abilities and needs. The above first grade reading benchmarks that I write about, are just guidelines. They are not rules.


Thank you for reading my post today. You might also enjoy reading my previous posts:

The Reading Curriculum that can change everything for your struggling homeschooler

Reading Fluency – How to Teach it

My Favorite Sight Word Activities

Please don’t leave without checking out the PRIDE Reading Program. The PRIDE Reading Program is an Orton-Gillingham curriculum that is used by teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents worldwide with great success.

>The PRIDE Reading Program<

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridereadingprogram.com or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com
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