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Things Your Child Should Know Before Entering Fifth Grade

Posted by Sarah Rutzler on September 11, 2017

Fifth grade is the final year before your child takes their next step in education: middle school. It is an exciting time for your child and you want he/she to be prepared as best as possible. By the end of fourth grade, children should have improved their language and writing skills in not only language arts, but in other subjects. A child should have mastered multiplication and conquered fractions. Fifth grade focuses on a lot more thinking, rather than doing. 

Here is an example checklist of what a child needs to know before starting fifth grade (checklist can vary based on your state’s academic standards).


Reading Comprehension Skills

  • Identify what the author’s main point is in the story and explain/ show evidence that supports the text
  • Compare writing styles in different cultures
  • Understand various forms of information (charts, drawings, timelines)
  • Understand more difficult examples of cause-and-effect
  • Work on research projects in groups 
  • Read grade level assigned books

Writing Skills

  • Take notes and organize facts (written and oral reports)
  • Use dialogue and descriptive language when writing a story (“” and ex: The bright rays of the sun shined off the ocean’s cold, salty waves.)
  • Know how to revise, edit, and proofread their work
  • Mastered writing expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative essays
  • Know how to write other forms of writing (personal letters, poetry)
  • Understand and know figurative language and how to use it properly (metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration, idioms, hyperboles, and onomatopoeia)
  • Mastered prefixes, suffixes, homophones, and root words
  • Know proper punctuation and the parts of speech

 Mathematic Skills

  • Work with multi-digit numbers
  • Solve multi-step word problems 
  • Compare fractions by using the numerator (top) and denominator (bottom)
  • Create fractions that are equal to each other (1/2 and 3/6)
  • Know how to subtract and add fractions
  • Know how to multiply fractions
  • Learn to change fractions with the denominators in multiples of ten to decimals
  • Compare fractions using > (more than) < (less than) and = (equal to) and place them on a number line in order from least to greatest 
  • Know measurements and what is equivalent to them (1ft. = 12 in. 1yd. = 3ft. 1mi. = 5,280 ft.)
  • Should know what polygons are 
  • Should be able to identify polygons (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons and octagons)

 Social Studies Skills

  • Measure distance using map scales
  • Know our counties five regions (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, and West)
  • Know the highest points in the world (ex: Asia = Mt. Everest)
  • Know about medieval Europe
  • Know about the American Revolution
  • Become introduced and familiar with the U.S. Constitution 
  • Identify customs, celebrations, and traditions in various cultures and groups
  • Know their states physical features and know how to identify places/ things on a map (mountains, rivers, cities)
  • Know what a current event is and why it is important to discuss them

 Science Skills

  • Know the circulatory system 
  • Understand and know what matter is and how it works
  • Understand mass, volume, and density
  • Know about earthquakes
  • Describe famous volcanoes
  • Know how mountains are formed 
  • Understand cold and warm fronts and how weather changes
  • Understand earth, physical, and life science
  • Know how to conduct an experiment (scientific method)

  Social Skills and Abilities 

  • Know how to juggle multiple tasks and assignments 
  • Have a great deal of confidence 
  • Work cooperatively in a group
  • Follow directions and participate in group activities
  • Share and communicate appropriately with other students
  • Respect their teachers and peers


Click the links below to see an outlined model curriculum for fifth grade (note this outline is for the state of New Jersey. State model curriculums will vary)





GreatSchools Staff. "Fourth Grade: What Your Child Should Know." Parenting

24 Feb. 2016. Web. 02 Sept. 2017.

GreatSchools Staff. "Your Fourth Grader and Social Studies." Parenting. 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 Sept. 2017.

Morin, Amanda. "Academic Skills Your Child Needs for Fifth Grade." understood.org. Web. 02 Sept. 2017

Tornio, Stacy. "25 Things Every 4th Grader Needs to Know." WeAreTeachers. 25 Oct. 2016. Web. 02 Sept. 2017.

Topics: Education, Reading Comprehension, Language Arts, Writing Skills, Enhanced Learning, Fifth Grader, Academic Standards

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