Pandemic-related school closures made your child’s sixth grade year anything but normal. Did your child learn the skills they need to be ready for next year? Here are some of the most important academic skills that kids acquire in sixth grade. If your child hasn’t mastered some of them, don’t worry. No two kids are alike, especially when it comes to hitting developmental benchmarks. The important thing is to be making progress toward mastery. Choose a few to practice this summer, but keep things low-key — both for you and for your child. It’s more important that at-home learning be an experience that encourages your child to enjoy tackling challenges. And in these unusual times, extra pressure isn’t good for anyone.

By the end of 6th grade, kids should be able to:

  • Express an opinion in writing and back it up with evidence from researched sources.
  • Write an informational essay with an introduction and a conclusion that explains a topic using information gleaned from research.
  • Type three or more pages in one sitting.
  • Paraphrase what they’ve read in writing and use quotation marks and attribution correctly to share information without plagiarizing.
  • Calculate percentages.
  • Understand the concept of and do calculations involving ratios (see examples of understanding ratios and working with ratios).
  • Divide fractions by fractions.

  • Solve real-world math problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals.
  • Solve equations in which X stands in for an unknown number, as a prelude to algebra.
  • Use grade-level academic vocabulary words in their writing and speech (see 6th grade and 7th grade word lists).
  • Discuss what they’ve read and reference evidence when they speak.
  • Participate in group discussions and disagree respectfully.
  • Understand that writing involves several steps: planning, revising, editing, rewriting and, sometimes, giving and receiving feedback and trying a new approach.

Read more about your sixth grader and reading, writing, and math under the Common Core Standards.

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Updated: June 10, 2020