If you’ve read to your fourth grader since she was very small, chances are she loves to read by herself. For a fourth grader in a traditional school, reading programs usually consist of phonics and comprehension skills. At home, you can find a similar program to use, or you can simply provide your child with good books and a designated time to read them. As a general guideline, by the end of the fourth grade year, your child should be able to:
- Read fluently and with the appropriate rhythm and pacing for the text
- Decode words using phonics and word parts
- Acquire and use new vocabulary words in the correct context
- Understand and use suffixes and prefixes
- Use her knowledge of root words to determine the meaning of unknown words
- Use context as a clue for determining the meaning of a word
- Understand the difference between literal and figurative language
- Recognize figurative language, such as personification and similes
- Read and then summarize stories and age-appropriate articles
- Recognize the point of view of a story
- Identify the main conflict, or plot, in a story
- Identify the major and minor characters in a story
- Identify the setting of a story (time and place)
- Relate the moral of a story (fable, folktale, etc.)
As your child moves on through the elementary grades, you may want to consider incorporating language arts lessons with the books she is reading. One curriculum designed to help you do just that is Learning Language Arts Through Literature, published by Common Sense Press. This program integrates reading with grammar, spelling, writing, vocabulary, research, and study skills.
The fourth grade “Orange” set includes a student activity book for independent work as well as enrichment activities such as analogies, word puzzles, and logic and reasoning problems. You’ll also find thirty-two weekly lessons that are divided into daily lesson plans, as well as four book studies which feature The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Wright Brothers by Augusta Stevenson, Benjamin Franklin by Augusta Stevenson, and The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. A Newspaper Unit focuses on paragraph writing, research, and vocabulary, while a Research Unit includes fact-gathering and note-taking, as well as step-by-step instructions for how to write a research paper. Journal writing is also included. Although the Learning Language Arts Through Literature program begins in the first grade, you can pick it up at any time.
Another program you might consider is Bring the Classics to Life. The fourth grade curriculum centers around eight books, including: Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper, From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Each novel is adapted into ten short reading chapters appropriate for the fourth-grade reading level, and the set includes a worktext which focuses on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and thinking skills.
McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers are another option you might choose to use with your fourth-grader. The seven volumes include the Primer through the Sixth Reader, with each volume suited toward a different reading level. This set features vocabulary and phonics practice as well as cursive writing exercises. Stories and poems have been added to the original versions, along with some minor revisions to make the language more understandable to today’s students.
While some homeschoolers enjoy using a set curriculum, others prefer to create their own. You can easily incorporate literature into your child’s studies by choosing good books for your child from your local library. Some books your fourth-grader might enjoy reading are:
- The Animal Friends series by Janette Oke
- The Little House series by Laura Ingles Wilder
- The Ramona series, The Mouse on the Motorcycle, Emily’s Runaway Imagination, Henry Huggins, and Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
- Sarah Plain and Tall by Lois Lowry
- The Barn by Avi
- The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
- Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
- A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
- The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
- Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischmann
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
- The Borrows by Mary Norton
Be sure to also search through other resources such as Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children’s Literature and The Read Aloud Handbook for more titles for your fourth-grader, then visit your library or bookstore — and keep her reading!
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Photo by Jun’s World