Grade levels » 6th Grade

6th Grade

6th grade

6th Grade Reading 

The ultimate goal of the 6th grade reading curriculum is for students to read increasingly complex texts over the course of the year, preparing them for high school, college, and careers beyond. Students read a variety of texts and different genres, including fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fiction. There is a specific emphasis on and increase in the reading of non-fiction texts in order to prepare students to read, write, and research across subjects. As students read more complex texts, analyzing and understanding them in deeper ways, they strengthen their knowledge of all subjects, including science and history.

In order to build reading skills, your 6th grader:

  • Uses evidence from the text in order to summarize the plot, make inferences about and analyze the text, and determine the central theme or themes in a text.
  • Understands and explains the point of view in a text; understands the significance of certain words and passages in a text.
  • Understands and relays the main thesis or claims of a non-fiction text and its supporting evidence.
  • Reads and compares different texts and genres that address the same topics.
  • Uses a variety of media and formats, including video and audio, to further enhance understanding of a topic or text.
  • Participates in class-wide and group discussions expressing the ideas and skills learned.
  • Practices a variety of vocabulary skills, including using the context in which a word is found to determine the meaning of words, recognizing roots of words, and using digital and physical reference materials (dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries).
  • Gains an understanding of and the ability to explain figurative language in a text.


6th Grade Writing 

  • 6th graders are encouraged to push themselves further in their writing and write with increased complexity in terms of  length, subject matter, vocabulary, and general writing techniques. At the same time, 6th graders practice and refine many of the skills previously taught to them while enhancing them with the new skills and techniques they learn. 

For sample writing pieces that align with the Common Core State Standards, click here.

In order to build writing skills, your 6th grader:

  • Writes using more complex vocabulary and about more complex content.
  • Writes over extended periods of time, such as when writing long-term research or expressive pieces that may take a week.
  • Writes for short amounts of times, such as in one sitting.
  • Writes a variety of genres for a variety of audiences.
  • Writes structured and well-organized opinion, research, and informative pieces that:
    • Use supporting claims and evidence based on credible texts and resources.
      • Include an introduction, a conclusion, and transitions.
      • Integrate other forms of media and formats, such as graphs, charts, headings, audio, or video when appropriate.
    • Writes well-structured narratives (both true and fiction) that include:
      • Descriptive detail of characters, settings, and experiences.
      • Dialogue.
      • A clear structure, with a logical order and flow, thought-out word choice, and a conclusion.
    • Plans, revises, and edits writing, with guidance from teachers and peers.
    • Writes pieces that display the reading skills achieved, including analysis of text, making comparisons and claims, and developing arguments using specific evidence.
    • Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing, work with others, and type a minimum of three pages in one sitting. 


6th Grade Math 

Math in 6th grade focuses on the following areas: ratios and solving equations using ratios; division of fractions; statistical thinking; and working with negative and rational numbers. Students in middle school continue to deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts and explain how they solve equations through writing and discussions.

In order to build math skills, 6th graders:

  • Divides fractions by fractions.
  • Solves equations using ratios, rates, or percentages.
  • Solves equations with negative numbers.
  • Multiplies and divides multi-digit numbers.
  • Finds common factors and multiples.
  • Understands and talks about ratios using mathematical language. For example, the ratio of girls to boys in the class is 2:3.
  • Solves algebraic equations with one variable and explains how these equations were solved.
  • Solves geometry problems related to surface area, area, and volume as applied to real-world situations.
  • Develops skills in statistical analysis and applies statistical concepts, including mean, median, variability, and range.
  • Analyzes mathematical data, thinking about how data was collected and looking at patterns, including clusters, peaks, gaps, and symmetry.
  • Explains the process used and the thinking behind how problems and equations are solved.

6th Grade Science 

Neither the Common Core nor National Standards breaks down expectations for middle school by grade. Instead, both institutions specify standards for middle school as a whole. Below is a list of skills covered throughout middle school. Consult your child’s teacher for more specifics pertaining to the topics and skills covered in her science class.

In middle school, students continue to deepen their knowledge and skills in the physical, life, earth, and space sciences. There is a specific focus on explaining and understanding real-life events and processes in relation to the concepts and topics learned. 6th-8th graders also focus on applying scientific methods as described below in order to deepen their understanding and work like actual scientists.  

In order to build science skills, 6th graders:

  • Plans and conducts investigations and experiments.
  • Applies the scientific method in order to practice like a scientist (there are many different ways people present "the scientific method," but here's a basic example):
    • Questions, observes, and researches.
    • Develops a hypothesis (based on observations and research).
    • Make predictions.
    • Experiments and follows multi-step processes and instructions in order to conduct experiments.
    • Develops a conclusion.
    • Compares the results of an experiment to what is written about the topic in a text.
  • Analyzes and interprets data.
  • Uses measurement and mathematical computations while working with data.
  • Develops and presents explanations for processes and practices used and results obtained.
  • Determines the main ideas of a scientific text and cites specific evidence to support ideas and claims about scientific texts.
  • Learns topic-specific science vocabulary.
  • Analyzes relevant charts, diagrams, and graphs about a scientific topic.

6th Grade Social Studies 

The Common Core does not address the specific topics to be covered in 6th grade; instead, it specifies the set skills to be covered in middle school. The grades in which these skills are covered and which topics are included vary according to different states’ standards. Consult your child’s school or state standards for further details on the specific material your child will study. The following skills have been set forth as essential for social studies and history in middle school.

In order to build social studies skills, 6th graders:

  • Reads primary and secondary sources in order to:
    • Analyze the texts using evidence.
    • Understand the main ideas of the text.
    • Relate the texts to important historical events or concepts.
  • Distinguishes between fact and opinion in a text.
  • Uses technology and media to better understand concepts taught.
  • Compares primary and secondary sources about the same topic.
  • Learns about historical events within a context and as related to things such as geography, economy, and social and political factors.  
  • Learns about topics like ancient and global civilizations to gain a deeper understanding of history and the present global community.