Skip to main content

Communication Milestones Between Kindergarten and 1st Grade

young girl painting

Starting school is a very exciting time for your child and the whole family! You might be wondering, "Is my child ready?" The following information can be used as a general guide for speech, language, social, and literacy skills that are important for your child to have before starting kindergarten and first grade.

Before entering kindergarten, children are expected to have the following skills:

  • Following directions that contain more than one piece of information
  • Listening to others while they are talking
  • Asking adults for help
  • Using words to share their thoughts, and to talk about their needs, wants, and feelings
  • Using a variety of sentences and speaking clearly enough so others can understand
  • Beginning to recognize familiar words and symbols, such as "STOP" on stop signs
  • Engaging with books. Children may pretend to read books to themselves or to their toys dolls by making up words or using actual phrases from the books. They should also be able to make reasonable predictions about what will happen in a story.


Before entering the first grade, children are expected to have the following skills:

  • Listen to and understand an age-appropriate story that is read aloud
  • Follow and participate in conversations
  • Retell a familiar story or talk about an event
  • Recognize and provide rhyming words (e.g., "cat" and "hat")
  • Describe people, places, actions, and things (e.g., color, shape, size, what they do)
  • Understand that letters represent sounds and be able to match some letters with sounds
  • Recognize some written words
  • Print own name
  • Understands concepts like opposites, similarities, and categories.
  • Shows some understanding of numbers and quantities

Red Flags

Seek the advice of your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist if you observe the following with your child:

  • His/her speech is very difficult to understand
  • He/she has trouble retelling a simple sequence of events and the feelings they have about experiences
  • He/she does not socialize with classmates or peers
  • He/she seems to have a dramatically harder time focusing on a task than his same-age peers
  • He/she has a lot of trouble following directions
  • He/she has a hard time following a story or understanding why the characters in the story are doing things

Image: Stuart Miles /


                 Español/Spanish                     中文/Chinese


e-Portfolio created with myeFolio