Fourth Grade

In fourth grade, students read more challenging texts and are learning to apply critical thinking skills when discussing and analyzing what they have read. The concepts addressed in mathematics are also increasing in complexity as they learn about decimals, fractions, and multi-dimensional shapes.


Fourth-grade students take the state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading and mathematics. This is also the year that students take the Integrated Performance Task (IPT), a locally-developed assessment that measures critical thinking, problem solving, and written communication. In addition, it is never too early to encourage your child to participate in community service, particularly if your child is interested in attending the Middle Years International Baccalaureate program at Plaza Middle School. Community service is an important part of the application process and applications are due in the spring of your child�s fifth grade year.

English Language Arts

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



By the end of fourth-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.)
  • Determine the main idea of a given text using specific details
  • Know and apply grade-level phonics strategies and word analysis skills in decoding words
  • Draw conclusions and make inferences about a given text
  • Describe character development in a given story or text
  • Identify the conflict and resolution that may exist in a text
  • Identify cause and effect relationships that may exist in a text
  • Use text features, such as type, headings and graphics, to predict and categorize information in both print and digital texts
  • Determine the theme of a text
  • Summarize information from the text during and after reading and include supporting details
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience
  • Use information resources to create a research project
  • Create and deliver multimodal presentations


  • 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 or what has been learned 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 she learned in third grade as she examines place value of whole numbers and decimals and uses her knowledge and fluency with basic math facts to solve problems. She will continue to expand her understanding of fractions, measurement and estimation. She will also build skills that will help her analyze and graphically represent data.



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

  • Use the four operations (+, -, �, �)
  • Develop computation strategies with rational numbers
  • Be familiar with factors (i.e., numbers that can be multiplied together to create another number, for example 3 x 4 = 12 and 2 x 6 = 12, the numbers 3, 4, 2, and 6 are factors of 12) and multiples (i.e., numbers that result when positive numbers � excluding fractions � are multiplied.)
  • Generate and analyze patterns
  • Determine area and perimeter
  • Understand decimals and how they relate to fractions
  • 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
  • Solve problems involving equivalent units of measurement
  • Identify and describe representations of points, lines, rays and angles
  • Identify and compare and contract plane and solid figures according to their characteristics
  • Collect data and create tables or graphs to represent it
  • Draw conclusions based on data


  • Encourage a Positive Attitude Toward Math - It�s around this age that many youngsters become discouraged by math and begin to think of it as a subject they�re just not good at. Be aware of this and try to prevent your child from developing a defeatist attitude toward math. Encourage him to stick with it when a problem appears difficult and to approach it in different ways.
  • Highlight How Math is Used in Cooking - Baking and cooking are among the best ways to familiarize your child with how fractions work. Having him help in the kitchen also reinforces valuable sequencing skills and time management concepts.
  • 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 engage in the inquiry process to strengthen skills related to scientific investigation, specifically in organizing, analyzing and applying data. These scientific investigation skills will be applied to study and form an understanding of Earth resources, structures of land and oceans, Earth, moon, and sun relationships, and interactions in ecosystems. She will engage in the inquiry process and strengthen her skills related to organizing, analyzing and applying data.

Social Studies

In fourth grade, students will begin learning about the history of Virginia and Virginia�s role in the history of the United States. Students will apply geographic and historical analysis skills to study and form an understanding of the physical regions of Virginia, Virginia Indians, the Jamestown settlement, and life in colonial Virginia.