Literacy Stage: First Grade (Year 6)

Continuing to build on the first three literacy stages, children are moving into the regular grade system and should be starting the first grade.  Despite the continuation of a curriculum to guide their literacy, parents should still nurture literacy development outside of school. 

The list below highlights some of the new developments that a parent can expect to see by the time their child finishes the first grade.  Note: Children vary in how they develop and learn – some skills should develop in the next literacy stage in they are not achieved at this stage.

Most 6 year olds should be able to:

  • participate in various literary activities voluntarily (i.e. choosing books to read, writing notes to a parent)


  • start using a variety of literary elements to help with his/her reading (e.g. re-reading a paragraph, predicting what will happen, questioning part of the story, using pictures or visual cues)
  • monitor her/his own reading; self-correct when a word does not fit in context (by using visual cues)
  • read and understand both fiction and nonfiction text at grade level
  • predict what will happen next in a story; justify his/her prediction with back-up information
  • describe any new information collected from texts in her/his own words
  • read and comprehend simple written instructions
  • observe when simple sentence might not be complete or fail to make sense
  • answer simple comprehension questions based on the material s/he read


  • write about topic that mean a lot to him/her
  • use basic punctuation and capitalization
  • produce her/his own written texts for others to read
  • compose a draft of his/her writing using parts of the writing process (e.g. planning, rereading for meaning or self-correction)
  • create various types of text (e.g. short stories, journal entries)
  • demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between written text and illustrations


  • identify more an increasing vocabulary of words by sight
  • decode one-syllable and nonsense words by sounding out unknown words
  • recognize some common, irregularly spelled words by sight (e.g. have, said, where)
  • retain a vocabulary of 300 to 500 written words
  • count the number of syllables in a word
  • spell three- and four-letter short vowel words correctly
  • use invented spelling / phonics knowledge to try to spell new words


  • blend or segment the sounds of most one-syllable words
  • use letter-sound recognition to sound out unknown words when reading new texts
  • sound out major sounds in a word when trying to spell
  • identify new words by using letter-sound matches or parts of words

Speaking / Listening

  • read and retell stories that are familiar to them
  • indicate prior knowledge of topics in informational (nonfiction) texts
  • read aloud more accurately; understand grade level text
  • discuss how, what and why questions when reading nonfiction texts
  • show an increased vocabulary of words orally (when speaking with others)