Brain Development: Ages 8–10
As their brains continue to develop, children at this stage have a growing need for independence in their decision-making and thinking process. With an increasing attention span, children of this age group can carry out detailed directions, make step-by-step plans to carry out complex plans, and begin to use logic and reason in problem-solving.
At this stage, children typically:
- Develop critical and abstract thinking skills.
- Develop their own games with complicated rules.
- Become skilled in reading, writing and use of oral language.
- Begin to express creative skills through writing, acting, inventing and designing.
- Ask many questions to develop their own point of view.
- Begin to collect things and develop interest in projects.
- Care about fairness; develop a sense of right and wrong.
- Develop competitiveness.
- Start to understand puns and riddles.
- Become curious as to how things work and how they are made.
What Parents Can Do
Try to communicate with the teacher regularly about how your child is doing, beyond parent-teacher conferences. Ask whether your child is reading grade-level books. Are they writing and speaking well? Ask to see a sample of your child’s work and follow up with questions about how it could be better. Ask for extra help, if your child needs it.
Try to make a quiet place for your child to study and try to carve out time every day when your child can focus on reading, writing, and math. Make reading for fun a part of your child’s daily routine.
Keep This in Mind
Children need playtime—and plenty of it—for healthy and strong brain development.Their time for watching television, playing video games and playing on the computer should be limited to one to two hours per day. That will lead to more active play.
Third-grade students begin reading closely to find main ideas and supporting details in stories. They also read stories and poems aloud fluently, without pausing to figure out what each word means. They independently conduct short research projects that build knowledge about various topics.
Third-graders learn multiplication, division and fractions, which are the building blocks for many life skills that students will learn in later grades such as percentages. They measure and estimate weights and liquids, and can solve word problems involving these quantities.
Fourth-grade students have the stamina and skills to read challenging fiction, nonfiction and other materials. They make important strides in their ability to explain plainly and in detail what a book says. They are writing effective summaries, book reports, and descriptions of characters or events that use correct grammar and punctuation.
Fourth-graders use whole-number arithmetic to solve word problems, including problems with measurements. They build knowledge and skills with fractions to prepare for mastering this topic in fifth and sixth grade.
Fifth-grade students read widely and deeply from a range of high-quality, increasingly challenging fiction and nonfiction books. They begin doing some writing work on the computer. Summarizing key details of stories. Integrating information.
Fifth-graders will be able to multiply large numbers quickly and accurately, as well as multiplying and dividing fractions in simple cases. They begin using information from print and digital sources to answer questions and solve problems.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
For their brains to maintain optimal development, children need good nourishment every day. They should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and their diet should be limited with regard to high-fat foods, added sugars and salt. Children may not ask for healthy snacks like baby carrots or whole-grain, low-salt crackers, but if they are offered consistently and at a time when the child is likely to be hungry, there’s a good chance they will be eaten.