Fifth Grade

Students continue to develop their reading and writing skills and engage in critical thinking across the content areas. They also build on the mathematics skills that they learned in fourth grade. In addition, fifth-grade students take the state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading, mathematics, social studies and science.


At the discretion of their parents and guardians, fifth-grade students may also participate in Family Life Education (FLE), a state-endorsed program that includes age-appropriate instruction in family living and community relationships as well as how to cope with peer pressure and the stresses of modern living. Learn More

This is also the year that students work with their school counselor to create their academic and career plan (ACP) to help guide course and program selections throughout their middle and high school years. Learn More

English Language Arts

Your child will continue to be introduced to a wide variety of reading materials that will help develop her reading, writing, communication and research skills. She will receive instruction in phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and writing.



By the end of fifth-grade, your child should be able to do the following (but is not limited to):

  • Use context to clarify meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases
  • Use knowledge of root words, prefixes (e.g., re- , pre-), suffixes (e.g., -able, -ment), synonyms (i.e., words with nearly the same meaning), antonyms (i.e., words that mean the opposite of one another) and homophones (i.e., words that are pronounced the same but that have different meanings � for example, to, two and too.)
  • Draw inferences (i.e., a conclusion or opinion based on known facts or evidence) from a fiction and nonfiction text
  • Make and confirm predictions based on a text
  • Identify cause and effect within a text
  • Identify the theme or main idea within a text
  • Explain author�s purpose from various genres (i.e., different types of literature like comedy, drama, satire, etc.)
  • Describe character development within a text
  • Describe the development of plot and explain the resolution of conflict(s) within a text
  • Describe the impact on setting within a text
  • Compare and contrast texts (i.e., paired passages)
  • Differentiate between first- and third-person point of view
  • Summarize the text with details
  • Determine importance and identify information in text to support thinking
  • Describe the characteristics of free verse, rhymed and patterned poetry
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience
  • Write multiparagraph pieces with a central idea for multiple purposes (inform, persuade, entertain)
  • Create and deliver multimodal presentations
  • Use information resources to create a research project


  • Read Every Day - Continue to read aloud with your child regularly. As you read, stop to discuss what was read and ask questions about what�s happening in the story (fiction) or what has been learned (nonfiction) about a topic. Your child should discuss the important details from the beginning, middle and end of a story and be able to discuss the main idea and details of a nonfiction text.
  • Encourage and Explore Different Uses for Writing - Make sure that you and your child write in different ways for different tasks, purposes and audiences. Examples of writing may include grocery lists, recipes, notes, thank you cards, letters and stories. Authentic writing experiences will motivate your child to write and foster a love of reading and writing.
  • Make the Most of Your Library - Please be sure your child has a library card and is familiar with your local library. Encourage your child to choose books that are of interest. Make sure that your child has time at home, away from computers and television, to focus on reading independently.

Tips provided courtesy of NBC News Parent Toolkit


Your child will continue to build upon the math skills he learned in fourth grade as he develops a deeper understanding of rational numbers and solves real world problems involving fractions and decimals. He will also build skills that will help him prepare for more advanced mathematical concepts introduced in middle school.



By the end of fifth grade, your child should be able to do the following (but is not limited to):

  • Analyze patterns and relationships
  • Develop and begin to apply basic algebraic concepts such as the meaning of a variable and the use of whole number properties
  • Draw conclusions using graphs and tables in a more complex way
  • Determine the probability by constructing a sample space or using the basic counting principle
  • Solve story problems involving whole and rational numbers
  • Multiply and divide larger numbers, including decimals
  • Use equivalent fractions (fractions that look different but have the same value like 1/2 = 2/4 = 4/8) as a strategy to add and subtract fractions
  • Compare and order common fractions and decimals
  • Give equivalent forms of fractions and decimals
  • Understand concepts of volume, area, perimeter and determine which measurement is most appropriate for a given situation
  • Classify angles and triangles
  • Solve problems using elapsed time


  • Highlight Real-World Uses of Math - As the math they�re learning becomes more complicated and less obviously connected with their everyday experience, some children start to develop math anxiety. It�s important to keep your child engaged with math and to help her understand the real-life applications of the concepts she�s learning in school. Coming up with a budget for back-to-school supplies or for her monthly allowance is one way for her to practice addition and subtraction. Asking her to help you with cooking or baking shows her how fractions work. Helping you calculate prices when you are grocery shopping is also good practice.
  • Read Problems Out Loud - If your child is struggling with math problems, have him read each problem out loud slowly and carefully so he can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps him break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies. Have your child draw pictures and try to apply a variable to the problem.
  • Keep Math Positive - Speak positively about math. Reward effort rather than grades or ability. Don�t discount the importance of math by saying, �I�m not a math person, I was never good at math.� Help your child read books that incorporate math.
  • Explore Math with Sports - Sports provide a fun and engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts. The halves of a soccer game or the quarters of a football game offer an illustration of how fractions work in the real world. If your child enjoys a sport, encourage her to explore it through math. Keeping score encourages skip counting (i.e., counting by multiples) and builds on algebra and computation concepts.
  • Play Family Math Games - Plenty of family games incorporate math. Connect Four, and dominoes are just some of the many games that help build math skills. Any game using dice and counting spaces also builds math concepts.

Tips provided courtesy of NBC News Parent Toolkit


Your child will continue to apply the skills of a scientist to the study of topics related to physical, life and Earth sciences including matter; force, motion and energy; electricity; sound; light; characteristics of organisms and cells; as well as the life processes of plants. She will engage in the inquiry process and strengthen her skills related to organizing, analyzing and applying data.

Social Studies

Your child will learn the rich history of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He will study the physical geography of Virginia and the history of our state from the early settlements to the modern era.

Planning Ahead

What you should know about:

  • Selecting Middle School Courses
    Based on academic performance and teacher recommendations, your child�s school counselor will develop a course schedule for your child entering sixth grade. Your child will have a choice of electives and the schedule will be mailed home for you to review. Talk to your child�s school counselor to learn more.

    Parents of fifth grade students who have an individualized education program (IEP) can expect to have conversations regarding post-secondary planning with their IEP Teams. These conversations will center on student interests and career-related goals. In the IEP this portion is clearly defined as transition planning.
  • Taking Advantage of Advanced Courses in Middle School
    When selecting courses for middle school, keep in mind that taking advanced courses creates the opportunity to earn high school credit while in middle school and may in the long run provide your child with more flexible scheduling options in high school. It will also put your child in a better position to enroll in one of the many academy and advanced academic programs available to students in high school. Enrollment in advanced courses in middle school is based on student performance, teacher recommendation, and parent input. Talk to your child�s school counselor to learn more.
  • Applying for Advanced Academic Programs and Services in Middle School
    If you believe your child has a strong interest in and aptitude for a disciplined, rigorous course of study, you may want to consider having her apply to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program available at Plaza Middle School. The IB Middle Years Program serves students in grades 6 through 8 but also provides a natural progression to the high school IB program at Princess Anne High School. Applications are generally due in February for the following school year. Learn More

    If your child has been identified as eligible for receiving gifted services, he may be interested in attending the Brickell Academy at Old Donation School, a centralized, full-time gifted school serving students in grades 2 through 8. Students are admitted to the school based on an application process and applications are generally due in February for the following school year. Learn More