What to expect in fourth grade

Learn about what to expect for your child in fourth grade.

By Miriam Myers

In your child's classroom

It is important that your child enters fourth grade reading at grade level with solid comprehension skills. He will be reading across the curriculum in all subjects and will be expected to have a deep understanding of what he reads.

In math your child will be adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing large whole numbers. She will also be working with decimals and fractions. She will have more homework, book reports and research projects.

Tonya Breland, our teacher consultant explains: "Fourth grade is an exciting time for children to become more responsible and take greater ownership of their learning. Teachers will expect more from your fourth-grader and give him more opportunities to work independently and in groups. You can encourage your child to participate in extra curricular activities during the summer to prepare him to work as a team with other children."

To prepare for fourth grade, have your child join the library summer reading program or form a neighborhood book club. For math, do cooking projects that require measuring fractional amounts. Continue to teach your child responsibility. Have your child learn to wake up to an alarm clock each morning.

Every child passes through a range of social, academic and developmental stages at his own pace. Below are some guidelines about what to look forward to in the year ahead.

Physical and social skills you can expect of your fourth grader:

  • Make more decisions and engage in group decision-making
  • Want to be part of a group
  • Think independently and critically
  • Have empathy
  • Show a strong sense of responsibility

Academic skills you can expect of your fourth grader:

  • Be able to memorize and recite facts, although she may not have a deep understanding of them
  • Increase the amount of detail in drawings
  • Work on research projects
  • Write a structured paragraph with an introductory topic sentence, three supporting details and a closing sentence that wraps up the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Write a five-paragraph paper
  • Use a range of strategies when drawing meaning from text, such as prediction, connections and inference
  • Understand cause and effect relationships
  • Add and subtract decimals, and compare decimals and fractions
  • Multiply multi-digit numbers by two-digit numbers (26 x 5,348)
  • Divide larger multi-digit numbers by one-digit numbers (1215 / 3)
  • Determine the area of two-dimensional shapes
  • Have a greater understanding of the concept of fairness

Learn more about where your child should be at the end of third grade.