When a child enters the first year of grade school the situation can be a bit of a shock to the system. Both children and parents often feel as though they are going in a bit blind as Kindergarten was the last grade where learning seemed like sort of a bonus and being a kid was still the key to succeeding in the grade. Now in first grade kids are actually expected to be able to be real students, to complete homework and pass state mandated tests.
When dealing with the requirements of writing and reading in the first grade, there are several different requirements that need to be fulfilled when it comes to reading and writing. Children must be able to recognize certain words on sight in order to move into the first grade. While they certainly are actually increasing their vocabulary they need to be able to label certain pictures of things without much in the way of help from a teacher or other student.
Writing deals with being able to write short words like cat and dog and at the end of the year they should be able to write out short sentences. These do not need to be three pages treatises but they should be coherent sentences that a teacher or parent can read with minimal effort. Of course at this age a child might still have a problem putting a letter facing the right way and this is to be expected. What is also expected is that by the end of the year the student will be able to fix the problems that they are having writing the letter or word facing the right way. This particular problem is far more prevalent among young children than most parents realize and it must always be taken with a grain of salt.