By third grade, your child will be developing into a fluent reader who is displaying expression and intonation in their voice as they read aloud. They will have grown in confidence and know a wide range of sight words from their time in first and second grade. Children will begin to learn the meaning of new words as they broaden their vocabulary. They may at times rely on pictures and illustrations to help with this vocabulary acquisition. Third-grade students will also be expected to read a range of different text types including, stories, poems, and informative texts.
At Grade 3 level, your children will now be starting to make the shift from ‘learning to read’ through to ‘reading to learn’. Therefore, the amount of time they spend reading factual information texts should increase and they will spend more of their time answering comprehension questions and gathering information from within a passage or book.
In third grade, your children will practice the following sight words:
about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full,
got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never,
only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, together, try, warm
Once they have mastered these words, coupled with the sight words for Grade 1 and 2, you should see that your child’s fluency and confidence has grown when reading grade appropriate books.
Children in Grade 3 are expected to decode (read) multisyllable words. If a child comes across a multisyllable word that they are struggling to read, marking the syllables will help them to break down and successfully decode the word. Each syllable will have a vowel sound in it. Have your child look for vowels/vowel pairs and break words up into syllables based on this.
For example: hamburger | ham/bur/ger
Examples of multisyllable words:
Practice Tip: Download this list of third grade multisyllabic words and practice reading them with your children. You can challenge them to use each of the words in a sentence.
In third grade, children should start to develop strategies to help them determine the meaning of unknown words. You can practice this in a number of different ways. The simplest way can be using a picture to show the meaning of the word, such as diagrams within non-fiction texts.
You can also challenge your child to use context clues from within the sentence they are reading.
For example: The altitude of Mount Everest is 29,000 feet above sea level.
In this example, you can first ask your child to read the sentence, then follow this with a question about the meaning of the word ‘altitude’. Ask your child to use the clues in the sentence to determine the meaning of the word.
One more technique that children will learn at Grade 3 level, is how to split words up to understand them.
For example: The word slideshow (slide | show) can be split up into two parts to determine the meaning of the word.
Practice Tip: The next time you’re reading a book with your child, challenge them to spot as many compound words as possible (examples: football, slideshow, toothbrush, bathroom).
Children in third grade begin to explore figurative language and grow their understanding of relationships between words. Examples of figurative language that they will learn at this level include similes, metaphors and personification.
Similes are a great place to start with your children. They are simple to understand as they follow a very simple rule:
Similes are a figure of speech where something is compared to another thing using the words LIKE or AS.
You will find examples of similes in stories and poems. Challenge your child to find an example of a simile the next time you’re reading together. Here are few examples that you will find in The Giraffes of Whispering Wood:
At Grade 3 level, it is common to notice that your child or children are gaining fluency and have a nice pace to their reading, but they still need to work on their understanding of what they are reading. As children are still acquiring more vocabulary, they can often struggle to understand the main themes of the text.
Third-grade children will spend a lot of time practicing their reading comprehension skills at school. You will find that a lot of their assessments at this level involve reading a piece of fiction or informational text and answering questions about what they have learned.
Practice Tip: When reading with your children, ask them to pause and pick out any words or phrases that they are unsure of. Start by asking your child to repeat the word by reading it out loud. Now explain what the word means and see if you and your child can create a physical action to represent this word. This will help the meaning of the word to stay with your child.
At this age, children are expected to begin comparing two texts and discussing the similarities and differences that they find. It is important that before you begin working on this skill with your children, that you ensure they are familiar with the text structure you’re going to use. For example, you might choose a simple report or story structure, as these will be most familiar to your children at this age. Reports about animals that your children are interested in actually make a great place to start here. It is best if they have some prior knowledge and are comfortable with the subject area before beginning to compare and contrast.
Practice Tip: Gather two texts about the same animal. Ask your children to use two different colored highlighter pens to mark up the similarities and differences between the two texts. They can be looking for different text structure features or even different information provided about the animal. Once they have done this, ask them two simple questions:
Challenge your children to record their answers by writing them down on paper as well as explaining them verbally to you.
Nightzookeeper.com constantly challenges third grade children to read instructions, sentences and short passages of text. The website helps them to discover the meaning of new words using fun games and challenges, whilst also posing grade level questions to test their understanding. By spending time working through these activities on Night Zookeeper, your child will become a more confident and fluent reader.