1st Grade Curriculum

Reading | Spelling | Religion | Handwriting | Math | Science | Social Studies



Reading and Phonics Program

Holy Family’s First Grade uses the SRA Open Court Reading and Phonics program. Our goal in First Grade is for all the children to be reading fluently by the end of their first grade year. This is a cooperative program that involves both parents and teachers. We use memorization of basic sight words with a strong phonics program, incorporating both techniques in the reading curriculum. To accommodate each child’s learning style, we divide the class into small reading groups and a resource teacher is available to help teach our reading curriculum. This is an award winning reading and phonics program that has proven to be very successful for the first grade students in our school.

Basic Sight Words Lists

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is a tool for measuring reading comprehension. The student selects a book at his or her reading level. After carefully reading the book, the student takes an objective test in the classroom on the computer. The questions are multiple choice with four answers choices for each question. Tests range from five to ten questions. The test is scored immediately and, if the student receives a 60% or better, the student is shown the incorrectly answered questions and the correct answers. The score for the test is printed and sent to the teacher and the child gets another book. The students look forward to using the computers and really enjoy being in the Accelerated Reader Program. It is easy to operate and they very quickly become independent in using it.

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Our First Grade Spelling Program incorporates memorization and phonics spelling skills to learn how to spell and write commonly used words in first grade. Our spelling program starts out with the students learning five words a week for the first five weeks of school, then it graduates to seven words each week for the rest of the school year (with two bonus words added to each list for the second semester). The spelling word lists correlate with our reading, phonics, and basic sight word curriculum.

Spelling Words/First Semester
Spelling Words/Second Semester

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We are all here at Holy Family Catholic School because of our faith, so our religion program is the strong foundation of the first grade classroom. Daily prayers are part of our classroom routine throughout the day. The children master memorized prayers, hear and learn about both Old and New Testament Bible Stories, study and attend weekly Mass, and prepare for attending Mass on the weekend through Sunday Story Gospel readings.

We use a Catholic based text called Blest Are We. This text gives the students in the class a well-rounded formation for their Catholic faith.

We Belong to Jesus’ Church
We Gather to Celebrate Mass
God’s Word Teaches Us
We Give Praise to God

God is our Loving Father
Baptism Is a Wonderful Gift
God Made Us to Be Good and Holy
We Give Thanks to God

Jesus is God’s Son
We Celebrate the Gift of Eucharist
Jesus Teaches Us About Forgiveness
We Pray with God’s Word

Jesus Sends Us the Holy Spirit
We Celebrate the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit Is Our Helper
The Holy Spirit Helps Us Pray

Jesus’ Followers Become the Church
We Celebrate Pentecost
The Church Helps the World
We Pray with Holy Songs

Feast Days, Seasons, Holy People, Saints, Catholic Heritage, Worship, Prayer

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Handwriting Program

The kindergarten, first and second grade classes in our school use the D’Nealian Manuscript Handwriting Program. The students have a workbook that they use to practice correct handwriting formation in throughout the year. The D’Nealian handwriting helps the children easily transition into cursive handwriting in second grade. For a printable version of the D'Nealian style of handwriting, please click here.

Guide to D'Nealian letter formation

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One focus of the first grade math curriculum is the Sadlier-Oxford workbook and manipulatives. The children will cover addition, subtraction, place value, money, time, graphs, Geometry, measurement, and fractions using this series and excellent manipulatives. The workbook encourages the use of different ways of solving math problems including algebraic methods, story problems and mental math.

Another focus in first grade math is mastering the addition and subtraction facts to 12. Memorizing these facts will ensure your child's math success in future grades. At the beginning of first grade the children are issued addition and subtraction flash cards. The flash cards are used at both school and home for drilling and practice. The children practice their +/- facts orally and with written worksheets and timed tests to help them memorize their facts. Practice starts with the "+0" and "+1" facts and progresses level by level until your child reaches the "-12" facts in subtraction (24-12 being the highest memorized fact).

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The first grade classrooms utilize the Harcourt Science series. The series focuses on Life Science and Earth and Physical Sciences. Life Science covers living and nonliving things, plants, animals and environments. Earth Science covers natural resources, weather and seasons. Physical Science covers matter, energy and forces. For more information on this textbook series go to www.harcourtschool.com.

The first grade uses the National Geographic Young Explorer to supplement its Science and Social Studies curriculum.

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Social Studies

Holy Family uses the Houghton Mifflin series for Social Studies. Unit 1 looks at leadership, community, rules, and family. Unit 2 explores our earth, land and water, weather and seasons and citizenship. Unit 3 discusses needs vs. wants, goods and services and work and jobs. Unit 4 covers family life in the past and present and the first Americans.


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