What Your Child Should Learn in 4th Grade

By fourth grade, your child’s elementary school years are quickly coming to a close. They should have learned a tremendous amount over the past four years. The fourth-grade year will bring about even more new skills and concepts. Parents should be certain to stay on top of these concepts to help reinforce their child’s education.

If you have questions about what your child is learning in fourth grade, this list of basic topics should help. Keep in mind that the specific standards may vary by state. This should still give you a general idea of what to expect from a child in this age group.

Reading and Writing

Critical thinking skills are starting to apply to your child’s basic English assignments this year. They will be asked to make more connections about the information in a given passage, including topics like themes, ideas, and identifying main events. They should be able to understand multiple points of view, use illustrations to enhance their understanding, and use context clues.

Writing becomes more detailed during the fourth grade. Teachers will start expecting your child to write structured pieces using an introduction and conclusion. Your child may have assignments that include non-fiction topics in addition to the opinion pieces and narratives from third grade. During this time, you may see your child doing more detailed projects that include:

  • Researching and organizing information for presentations
  • Taking notes
  • Editing writing drafts
  • Typing accurately and quickly


Much like reading and writing, math classes expect children to take another step into the harder material. You often see children move from concrete ideas like positive numbers into more abstract territory with negative numbers. Your child should have a very good grasp on basic multiplication and division to prepare them for more difficult problems.

Graphs are an important part of the fourth-grade curriculum. Children should be able to read them, interpret them, compare the data, and even create their own graphs.

Fractions are also considered an important topic for fourth-grade students. When it comes to fractions, you can expect your child to learn how to:

  • Add and subtract
  • Reduce
  • Convert fractions to decimals
  • Understand improper fractions and mixed numbers


Your child is going to start with the beginning steps of the scientific method during the fourth grade. When they perform lab experiments, teachers will often ask them for a hypothesis or prediction about the outcome. Areas of study will vary, but they often cover geology, natural science, astronomy, or the human body.

Social Studies

Social studies topics begin to shift from understanding the world around them into more historical topics this year. They will usually learn major events in their state history, including how to place them on a timeline. Your child may begin to understand how the government works and how laws are enforced.

Fourth-graders have plenty of opportunities to explore their own interests this year. They will be asked to do far more difficult work than they did previously. Parents may find that their children need more academic support this year, even though their children are largely independent.

Using this list of guidelines, parents can ensure that their children are learning and mastering key concepts before they move on. Understanding these basic steps is essential to having a successful experience in middle school in the years ahead.

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