Building reading and writing skills
Most critical in first grade is the development of reading and writing skills. Your child will move from pre-reading skills to building crucial language skills in reading, spelling and writing. At home you can read stories aloud to your child often and ask questions such as “Who are the characters in the story?” “Where does the story take place?” “What happens in the beginning, middle and end of the story?”
Mastering math skills
In math your child will learn addition and subtraction facts, and how to tell time. She will count coins and identify patterns in numbers and objects. Practice these skills at home by asking your child to spot repeating patterns in her daily life and surroundings, such as designs in her clothing.
Assuming responsibility and routines
Talk to your child about “big kid” issues like packing a healthy lunch and how to treat other students on the playground. Since first grade is such a change from kindergarten, it becomes very important for parents to help their child set the stage for a great day.
Teaching your child independence is one of the most important jobs a parent has. One way to accomplish this is to develop daily routines that a child can follow. If a child knows that every morning when she gets up, she follows a particular routine for getting ready, then she can soon do it herself. In the evening, if your child knows the bedtime routine is to take a bath, brush teeth, read a story and get into bed, then not only is it easier to get her into bed, it is easier for the child to do it independently.
From "First Grade: What to Expect" by Miriam Myers, www.greatschools.org.