Fourth Grade: What You & Your Child Can Expect

How your fourth grader will grow this year

Schoolgirls (4-7) using laptop, smiling
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Fourth grade is the approximate year in which teachers say children experience a shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Fourth graders will use reference books and the Internet to find the information they need for schoolwork. Fourth grade math, reading and other subjects will be more challenging, as will homework, which may take as much as an hour or more to do each night.

Fourth graders will also need to begin getting themselves ready for the transition to middle school.

This will be a good time for parents to make sure their fourth grader works on their ability to focus, stay organized and prioritize - all skills they will need as they transition into upper grades where students are expected to work more independently and take more responsibility for themselves.

This guideline offers an explanation of what you and your fourth grader can expect as they tackle math, reading and other subjects this school year.

Fourth Grade Social Skills

Social development is a huge part of growing up, especially during the school-aged years. By now your fourth grader has developed a sense of self, which will play out through their social skills. Your fourth grader will:

  • Gravitate toward certain friends. Friendship preferences may become more pronounced in 4th grade. The downside to this can be the formation of cliques, especially for girls; peer pressure; and labeling others.
  • Take more responsibility for organizing and prioritizing their work. If your child needs help with these skills, now is a great time to step in, before the demands of middle school require even more self-discipline.
  • Be more emphatic about expressing preferences about things.
  • Demonstrate more competitiveness with peers.

Fourth Grade Reading & Writing

By now your fourth grader has become a skilled reader and writer. Now they are able to apply those skills to class projects and homework assignments. Your fourth grader will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the themes of a book by writing a book report.
  • Become familiar with a wide variety of stories such as fiction, non-fiction, myths, fables, poems, biographies and more.
  • Increasingly use research materials to tackle a variety of subjects including fourth grade science and history.
  • Continue to build vocabulary.
  • Learn synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.

Fourth Grade Math

Like all subjects your child will be introduced to this year, math will also present more of a challenge. Your fourth grader will:

  • Tackle increasingly difficult fractions, multiplication and division using multiple digits.
  • Begin geometry and algebra.
  • Learn how to collect data and convert the information into graphs, charts and tables.
  • Solve word problems that require logical-thinking skills and calculations.

Fourth Grade Science, Social Studies & Technology

Your child's worldview expands a little more every year. Fourth grade science, social studies and technology will introduce your young scholar to a wealth of new information. Your fourth grader will:

  • Learn about electricity and other forms of energy and matter.
  • Study American history and historical figures.
  • Learn about other cultures around the world.
  • Learn how to read maps.
  • Know the geography of the U.S.
  • Classify organisms.

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mathur R, Berndt TJ. Relations of Friends' Activities to Friendship Quality. J Early Adolesc. 2006;26(3):365-388. doi:10.1177/0272431606288553

By Katherine Lee
Katherine Lee is a parenting writer and a former editor at Parenting and Working Mother magazines.