In kindergarten, children discover that sounds and letters can be combined to make words, words can be put together to make sentences and that sentences can be written down for us to read. Students also learn to listen carefully to stories, poems and informational books and to read common words and simple books.
Through books, conversations and experimenting with language, kindergartners learn many new words and use this growing vocabulary to share ideas and information in discussions with classmates. They begin to write and use a combination of writing, drawing, and dictating to describe their experiences and to give information.
Reading & writing
Matching letters to sounds
Name upper and lowercase letters and match them to their sounds.
Recognizing and blending sounds
Recognize beginning sounds and blend sounds into simple words.
Quickly read short, common words (e.g. a, the, and, to) “by sight.”
Understanding books and writing
Develop basic understandings about books and writing.
- Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page while reading or being read to.
- Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.
- Name the author and illustrator of a story and explain what each does.
- Recognize and name periods and question marks.
Read simple books with understanding.
Engaging with many books and materials
Actively engage with many different kinds of books and printed materials.
Some sample texts:
- "Over in the Meadow" by John Langstaff
- "Pancakes for Breakfast" by Tomie DePaola
- "Kitten’s First Full Moon" by Kevin Henkes
- "Truck" by Donald Crews
- "I Read Signs" by Tana Hoban
- "Amazing Whales!" by Sarah L. Thomson
Asking and answering questions
Ask and answer questions about stories and informational books.
- What or who is this story about? What happens in the story? How does the story end?
- What is this article or book about? What is the author explaining? What did we learn from this?
Retelling familiar stories
Retell familiar stories- identify characters, settings and major events.
Understanding words and pictures
Get information from the words and the pictures in a book.
Uppercase and lowercase letters
Print most uppercase and lowercase letters.
Capitalizing and punctuating
Capitalize the first word in a sentence and end each sentence with a period or question mark.
Spelling words the way they sound
Use knowledge of letters and sounds to spell words the way they sound.
Stories, information, and opinions
Use a combination of drawing, speaking and writing to:
- tell a story
- give information
- state an opinion
Listening & speaking
Understanding and using new words
Understand and use many new words.
- Understand and use question words (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
- Use common prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off,).
- Understand words learned in science and social studies (e.g., hibernation, tradition)
Express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
Conversations and discussions
Participate in conversations and follow rules for discussions (e.g., listen to others and take turns speaking).
For tips to help your kindergartner in English Language Arts class, check out our kindergarten English Language Arts tips page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts and align with the Common Core State Standards.