What Should a 7-Year-Old Know Academically?

I have a nephew who recently turned 7 years old and my sister-in-law has had some questions about where he should be academically. I have been reading and researching for her, and I thought I should share some information with you as well. 

So, what should a 7-year-old know academically? A 7-year old should be able to read, write (with some errors,) add and subtract. They should know how to tell time, know the days of the week and names of the months. They should be able to work with 3-digit numbers and be able to use a ruler.

A 7-year-old should be curious and want to learn more and more as they are just beginning their academic journey. Reading and math skills are one of the most important things to focus on with a 7-year-old, especially if they seem to be falling behind early. 

Things a 7-Year-Old Will Know

If you have a 7-year-old, you are probably wondering if your child is at the right academic level. Especially if this is your first child, you may not know what to expect. School is just starting to be critical to your child, and basic learning levels at this time are essential to the growth of your kid. 

A 7-year-old will be attending the second grade. They will be learning major skills that will be so important down the road in life and academically. Here is just a basic list of what your 7-year-old should know or be learning.

  • How to read fairly fluently – although your child will still stutter and have trouble with some words, a 7-year-old should be able to understand what she or he is reading and be able to read many kids books by themselves.  They should even be able to read basic chapter books that are designed for younger kids. 
  • How to add and subtract – this is a basic math skill that will be needed for day to day life in the future. This is why making sure your child knows these skills early will help them succeed. They will start at this age adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers
  • How to read a clock – along with other math skills a 7-year-old will be learning, this is when most children learn how to read an analog clock. They will also learn how to count money, learn the days and months, and other timekeeping skills.
  • Learning how to form a hypothesis – Even if the word “hypothesis” is not in their vocabulary yet, a child at this age will start making assumptions and testing out their ideas. 
  • Know the Solar System – A child here will not only know about the earth but know about the other planets in our system and the sun. 
  • Know and compare stories – A 7-year-old will be able to link stories together and compare them. They will also be able to identify characters, setting, plot and be able to answer questions like “who, what, when, where, why, and how” in a group discussion
  • They will be able to understand that there are different cultures – social studies at this point has not been a big topic, they might know the names of the continents but they will learn and know various cultures from different places in the world. 
  • They will be able to participate better in art and in Physical Education (P.E.) – Before the interaction with Art will have been more scribbles but they should know how to draw straight lines, color inside the lines, what colors make other colors. In P.E. multitasking will be more developed so children will better be able to dance, play sports and move without falling over. 

This is the general rule for what a 7-year-old will be learning and should know as they attend school. Skills may be hard for some kids to learn. Like with snowflakes, every child is different. A child could struggle with math and excel in art. Some children are not athletically inclined but do well with reading.

Curiosity is one of the most prominent character aspects of a child. A 7-year-old is always looking for an explanation. Have you heard your child ask “why” about a thousand times a day for the last year? It’s because he or she is starting to pay attention to the world…

Academically, the biggest things to focus on with a 7-year-old is reading, writing, and math. These are the biggest skills that must be learned to exceed in life. Math and English are vital for living day to day in the world that we live in. 

As a parent, these will be the best things to help your child out with. In each of the sections below, there will be tips on how to help a 7-year-old progress with each academic category. 

If you want to watch videos that showcase what a 7-year-old should know academically, here is a really great link. This site provides visuals to help you better picture where your child should be at academically at this age. 

Math Skills a 7-Year-Old Should Know

Math is such a big part of a 7-year-olds life. They have been able to count for a couple of years at this point and have started putting those numbers to action.

The beginning of 2nd grade, a 7-year-old will be learning how to add and subtract. A teacher usually starts with addition. Kids will sometimes lovingly refer to subtraction as “take-aways.” This is perfectly normal for a young child.

As the year progresses, a 7-year-old should be progressing pretty rapidly. They should be starting to understand larger numbers. Homework will include 3-digit problems. This will be (typically) much harder for a child to understand.

A child will likely take a bit of time to understand this – I know I did as a kid – but feel confident when the skill is mastered.

Homework will start to include word problems. Word problems are a vital part to start comprehending math for a 7-year-old. This will make the knowledge they have acquired seem more relevant and put in real life situations. 

Another big part of this time is learning to work with money. In class, there will be some teaching on how to add coins to make $1.00 by using quarters, nickels, and pennies. 

A child at the age of 7 should know how money works and how to give change. They should know how much money is in each coin and how to tell the coins apart. 

Reading a clock should be a skill that is learned in math by a 7-year-old. At this time in a child’s life, he or she should be able to read time and be able to know what “half-past” or a “quarter-until” means. This skill is a tricky one too. Not every child is taught this anymore because analog clocks are not as popular. 

Along with “quarters” and “halves” children will be learning basic fractions. They will learn to add and subtract big units. This will usually be applied in terms of “when you cut the cake in half, how many pieces are there?” and similar questions. 

If it is not taught in school while your child is in 2nd grade, it is extremely worthwhile to teach your child on your own.  

Ways to Help a Child who is Falling Behind

If reading this has got you worried about your own child, don’t get discouraged. A 7-year-old may not have fully grasped concepts right away. Maybe the teacher has not gotten to the section you’re worried about yet.

If a child is struggling, here are some tips:

  • Sit down with your child while he or she is doing homework – this will help you better understand what the child is struggling with and supply the child with helpful hints and encouragements.
  • Use flashcards – Flashcards are a great tool – especially with addition and subtraction. Keeping them with you in the car or on-the-go will allow moments filled with boredom be turned to learning moments.
  • Use games as a way of teaching – If a child is struggling with the concept of money, use games like “Monopoly Jr.” to make learning fun and applicable. Games like “Sorry” help with counting spaces to move forward and backward. There are many online games that help, too.
  • Let your child cook with you – Math skills are definitely a part of cooking. Things need to be measured, timers need to be set. Obviously, baking and cooking can be dangerous as well, so make sure your 7-year-old stays safe. 
  • Stay positive – 7-year-olds really do care about how they are perceived. Keeping it positive and setting small goals can really help a child develop confidence to keep trying and trying. 

Reading Skills

Reading is arguably one of the most important skills to be developing as a child. This skill will be used throughout a child’s life into adulthood. That being said, it is absolutely critical for a child to learn how to read fluently.

Although being able to read smoothly and fluently is not usually achieved until 8 years of age, a 7-year-old should be getting close.

What is fluency? Reading Rockets gives us a definition. They say:

Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression.

-Reading Rockets

This means that your child at 7 should be getting closer and closer to reading without errors and with speed. 

Along with their ability to read better, they should be able to read out loud at a steady rate, even if they stumble or have trouble with words. Their reading level is outgrowing picture books.

Academically, a child who is 7 years old should be able to read chapter books. I don’t mean Jane Austen or Emily Bronte chapter books. There are many books out there intended for children audiences.’ Click here to see some books that are great for 2nd graders to read. 

The attention span of a 7-year-old is longer than at any previous age which means they should be able to sit and read a chapter at the time. 

As well as being able to read at a higher level, they should be understanding the text they are reading more than ever. 

As a child, I remember reading groups in school. We would have to make connections to the text, whether it was to another book, a movie, or a real-life event. At 7, a child should be doing this, sometimes without even thinking about it.

At school, a teacher will instruct 7-year-olds make connections to help them understand the story they are reading. This will help a child develop critical thinking and application.

Applying the story to real life will make the reading experience more purposeful.

At 7, a child should know how to identify the main character of the story, the place and some parts of the plots. They should know what is going on in the story. 

They should be asking questions to better their understanding. Most children will be telling parents at home about what they read or the story they heard. This is all good news.

Now just because you have a child who is getting pretty good at reading, you shouldn’t expect your child do be great at spelling and writing. It may seem like writing and reading levels go hand-in-hand. This rarely, if ever, is the case.

Children who are writing at the age of 7 will have frequent spelling errors. Their vocabulary will include several thousand words at this time but spelling is a difficult skill to learn, even for most adults. 

Tips to Improve a 7-year-old’s Reading Level

If your child is struggling with their reading skills, here are some basic tips that will help parents help kids.

  • Read with your child – reading with your child out loud will help your child immensely. This will help your child know the right reading pace, understand tone and voice in the dialogue. Reading with your child will help you better understand what the issues are and let you gently correct errors.
  • Talk with the teachers – talking with the teachers will let you better understand what is going on and they might be able to provide exercises that you are unaware of.
  • Use flashcards – flashcards are not just for math. You don’t have to buy these either. If there is a weekly vocab list, write down the word on one side of a piece of paper, and the definition on the other. Seeing the word and sounding it out frequently will help with fluency and provide definitions. 
  • Use technology in a positive way – there are a lot of apps available for tablets or smartphones that can help your child. Leapfrog has been making toys for a long while to help with reading. Use the resources you have around you constantly. 
  • Be a good example – If you read, your child will likely want to read too. Instead of watching TV, you could try sitting down with a book. Don’t down talk reading or call it boring. Reading should be fun and if a 7-year-old knows it’s important then he or she will want to try even harder.

Science Interests and Curiosity that a 7-Year-Old Should Have

Science is going to be one of the most fun aspects when it comes to learning. With experiments and nature, a 7-year-old will likely have science as his or her favorite subject.

Curiosity is one of the most prominent character aspects of a child. A 7-year-old is always looking for an explanation. Have you heard your child ask “why” about a thousand times a day for the last year?

It’s because he or she is starting to pay attention to the world around them and is at the age where comprehension can be achieved. 

A child should have this natural curiosity. They should be asking questions of “why” and “how”. This is a basic component of science.

Academically at 7 years of age, a child will start learning the solar system. They will learn how the sun affects the earth and how the other planets are in orbit. They should know the names of the planets.

At 7, a child will observe things in nature and learn that during certain times of the year, it is colder. They will learn this is because the earth rotates. They will learn that animals interact with nature similar to how people do; animals need shelter, food, and water just like humans.

A 7-year-old will should be able to understand inter-dependence of all living things. Of course, this starts out with a basic knowledge. Kids in the 2nd grade will learn that we need animals and animals need plants and plants and so on.

How to Help Your Child Become Interested in Science

If your 7-year-old does not seem to be interested in science or is struggling, here are some things you could do.

  • Let them explore – whether this step involves hiking or going out in nature, or watching a storm from the safety of a house, it is important to let a child observe. The more they observe the more questions they will have. Going to a museum or the zoo can help them get excited about science too. 
  • Ask them questions – if your child asks why does it snow in the winter maybe ask them “why do you think it snows” and see what they have to say. Help them become interested.
  • Show value in science – try not to use words like “nerdy” or other words with negative connotations. Treat scientists with respect, similar to how you would talk about a professional athlete or musician. 
  • Watch nature movies – watch movies that tell all about nature or animals. Maybe stay away from the bloody ones when they are younger. Watch a movie like March of the Penguins.
  • Conduct Experiments – just start somewhere. There are kits at the store or you could even try the old mentos in a coke bottle thing. Handson experience is a great way to help a 7-year-old enjoy this subject. 

Social Studies Skills

This may not be the main focus of the education of your 7-year-old but it is still important. Social studies helps a kid understand the people who are around him or her better.

It helps a child know that people who come from different places believe, wear, eat, and even behave differently and most importantly that differences are okay.

Social studies also includes history. At the age of 7, a child should know prominent figures in history such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln as well as the current president. 

A child who is 7 years old should know what state he or she lives in, and the city. He or she should be able to point out their state on a map and know the name of the continents. 

2nd graders should know some laws, know why laws are important. Typically they should know about the existence of the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence. 

Being able to recognize government and different government levels is a critical skill at this age. Recognizing authority is going to play a huge role in behavioral aspects.

Also, knowing that rules don’t only extend over the house but over the city and country will help them understand the world better.

For a list of items that are taught in the 2nd grade, click here

How to Help a 7-Year-Old Struggling with Social Studies

If your 7-year-old is struggling with government, names and dates, or even just being interested in these topics, here are a few things that you can do.

  • Use currency to introduce significant historical figure – If you have some loose change laying in your pocket, you can use this as a teaching moment. Explain who George Washington was, or Abraham Lincoln, or Thomas Jefferson. 
  • Teach about historical events near you – Look up cool facts about your city or state. When on vacation, use moments to see historical places or items.
  • Try eating food from different regions – Try to incorporate different meals in to explain some differences there are throughout the world.
  • Go through old photographs – Use photographs of when you were younger or your parents to explain how things were different back then.
  • Have maps available – If you have a globe or a map, you can help your child study different places and include fun facts. If you go on a road trip, using a map can help a child understand the distance between places. 
  • Study up – knowing cool facts about past presidents will help you be able to help your child. When your 7-year-old asks you a question that you don’t know, look it up. Study with them. When your kid knows that it’s interesting to you, it will become more significant. 

Artistic and Physical Skills of 7-Year-Olds

Art and music will become more advanced in a 7-year-old because motor skills will be more finely tuned. A child at this age is better at multitasking than at any other age before. This development will allow the child to draw better, run better, dance better.

A 7-year-old should be able to draw more than just scribbles. They often will try to draw things they see in real life. I’m not saying the drawings should be phenomenal, but they should more complex than when he or she was a toddler. 

It is not unreasonable for a child to start playing an instrument at this age. If the child has started lessons before this, he or she should have an easier time of reading music and be able to play more difficult pieces. 

As the motor skills become more developed, a 7-year-old will be able to dance more on tempo. A child being trained to dance will be moving more smoothly than before. 

Physically, your child should want to be playing, running around, swimming, and a whole host of rambunctious activity. Getting out and being active is such an important part of being 7 years old. 

According to PBS, this amount of physical development will not be the same if the child is not active. They say:

“During this period of development, children’s actual skill levels will vary based on their amount of physical activity. Sedentary children will not mature as quickly as those who participate in activities like dance lessons, team sports or backyard play.”


At this age, a child should be able to run and kick a ball. Before this age, this motion could be disconnected, or wobbly. As a child grows his or her body becomes more aware of itself and transitions and multitasking become more natural.  

Tips to Get a 7-Year-Old More Active

  • Limit technology – If your child has a tablet or enjoys watching TV, set a specific amount of time the child is allowed to have on the device. 
  • Be active with them – If you want your child to be outside playing, go on a walk with him or her, offer to go on a bike ride, take a trip to a swimming pool. 7-year-olds depend a lot on family members to plan activities.
  • Be a role model – Your child looks up to. Do you want your child to have an active lifestyle? A great place to start is to show them how fun and rewarding it can be.
  • Don’t use it as a punishment – An easy way to get a child to dislike going outside or running or any activity is to use it as a way to punish the child. Physical activity is theraputic when used the right way. 

Related Questions

What grade is 7-year-old in? A child at the age of 7 is typically in the 2nd grade. Do to different cut off dates that schools have, a child can either be turning 7 or already 7 by the time they enter into the school year. 

Can 7-year-olds read? A 7-year-old should be able to read but not fluently yet. They should be able to read some children’s chapter books, even if they read slowly or misread some words. 

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