In third grade, children select and combine skills and strategies to read fluently with meaning and purpose. They apply comprehension and vocabulary strategies to a wider variety of texts, and are better able to check on and improve their comprehension as needed. Children this age use their knowledge of text structures, vocabulary, and the world to understand and communicate. They read for pleasure and choose books based on personal preference, topic or author. Most children create engaging and detailed stories, as well as reports that are increasingly persuasive, informative or entertaining.
Children are phonemically aware (i.e., can identify and manipulate individual sounds in words) and use this awareness to sound out unknown words when reading, and to represent sounds in the words they want to write.
Decodes and spells multisyllable words by using letter-sound knowledge, including consonant blends (e.g., "st" and "-mp") and digraphs (i.e., two letters that form one sound like "th," "ch" and "sh"), short- and long-vowels (e.g., "hop," "hope" and "hoping") and complex vowel patterns (e.g., digraphs "oa" and "ea").
Uses knowledge of word families (e.g., "-ould," "-ight") to decode and spell unfamiliar words.
Decodes and spells multisyllable words by applying basic syllable patterns; knowledge of prefixes (e.g., "un-"), roots (e.g., "friend") and suffixes (e.g., "-ly"); and by analyzing other structural cues.
Checks the accuracy of decoded words by monitoring whether the passage makes sense and uses strategies to fix problems.
Demonstrates a growing collection of sight words (i.e., those read quickly and automatically, without having to decode letter by letter) that includes words from content areas such as science and social studies.
Most children read aloud with appropriate speed, expression, and accuracy. Their pacing and speech patterns sound more like spoken language and convey the purpose and meaning of the text.
Demonstrates comprehension by asking and answering questions, retelling stories, predicting outcomes, and forming and justifying conclusions. Uses prior knowledge to anticipate meaning and make sense of texts.
Can predict content, events, and outcomes from text, illustrations and prior experience. Supports those predictions with examples from the text or their own background knowledge. Uses chapter titles, section headers, graphics and diagrams to predict and further understand content in informational texts.
Compares and contrasts information in texts to real-life experiences, other texts and the world.
Uses background knowledge to make sense of a story or informational text. Such analysis can also be stimulated before reading by talking to children about what they already know about the text's topic, asking them to make predictions about what the text's contents will include, and encouraging them to give reasons why.
Can respond to questions that ask for literal (e.g., who, what, when, where and how) information, require conclusions about things not explicitly mentioned in the text, and provoke deeper thought and analysis. Adults can further support reading comprehension by encouraging children to ask "why" questions, predict what will happen in the story, and discuss the authors' opinions.
Is increasingly able to use comprehension strategies and surrounding information in the text to infer information and enrich the understanding of new concepts.
During this year, children develop the ability to monitor their own comprehension and identify when there is a problem. They know how and when to apply strategies (e.g., predict/confirm, reread, attend to vocabulary) to clarify the meaning of the text (or fix a problem with comprehension). They can also evaluate how well a strategy is working.
Many children show interest in a wide range of grade-level texts, including historical and science fiction, folktales, fairy tales, poetry and nonfiction or informational texts. Children also show progress in their abilities to understand literary forms by recognizing and distinguishing among texts like stories, poems, myths, fables, plays, biographies and autobiographies.
Uses knowledge of the structure of stories to identify and interpret plot (e.g., problems and solutions), character, setting and theme. Is able to discuss the messages or themes of stories and connect them with life and other texts. Can analyze what characters are like by how the author and illustrator describe them and the actions they take.
Can summarize information from lengthier texts, sequencing information accurately, distinguishing main ideas from supporting details and drawing conclusions. Presents summaries orally and in writing.
Distinguishes cause from effect, and fact from opinion.
Can interpret information from increasingly more complex diagrams, charts and graphs. Creates graphic organizers to demonstrate comprehension and to organize information.
Recognizes and uses parts of a book to locate information, including table of contents, chapter titles, guide words and indices.
Most can read silently for longer periods of time (30 or more minutes) and from a variety of materials, including longer fictional texts, chapter books and informational or nonfiction materials.
Enjoys listening to chapter books that are beyond their own independent reading level. Reading both fiction and nonfiction to children increases their vocabulary and exposes them to more complex language, concepts and text structures.
Reads assigned and self-selected materials to accomplish different purposes (e.g., to be informed, to follow directions, to be entertained). Children continue to rely on their knowledge of authors when selecting materials, and increasingly use reading to explore ideas and gain new knowledge.
Broadens understanding of the writing process in terms of purpose and format. Children write to present information, entertain through stories and poems and communicate their understanding of texts and ideas. Their awareness of audience and increasing vocabulary results in more developed and descriptive writing. Many children reveal their personal voice (e.g., feelings, personal beliefs) in their writing.
In third grade, children are more frequently asked to respond in writing to their learning across the curriculum (e.g., pull together information from a variety of sources to write a report, analyze characters' actions and interpret themes in stories). Develops an awareness of audience (e.g., distinguishes between friendly and formal letters, and when speaking, distinguishes between a formal presentation to the class and informal talk with friends on the playground).
Creates more sophisticated stories with detailed settings, more fully-developed plot lines (with conflict and resolution) and characters that interact with the events. Some experiment with literary elements (e.g., using "like" or "as" to make comparisons [similes], incorporating figures of speech).
Writes reports that describe and explain topics, objects, events and experiences. Begins to use information gained from multiple sources (e.g., textbooks, observations, Internet and other library resources) to compose reports. Uses descriptive language to communicate details and varies the structure of sentences (e.g., starts sentences in different ways, includes transitions and phrases).
Creates paragraphs that have a topic sentence, supporting facts and details and a conclusion. Organizes information using a variety of patterns (e.g., time sequence, cause and effect, compare and contrast).
Is aware of and is more skillful in all phases of the writing process. Engages in pre-writing activities to refine topics, gather information and organize details. Ideas are generated and developed through discussion with others and gathering information from multiple sources. Graphic organizers (e.g., brainstorming webs, lists and Venn diagrams to compare/contrast) are used to organize and present information.
Develops and revises drafts for varied purposes, including to achieve a sense of audience, make precise word choices, and create vivid images. Most children are able to review their work independently for content, organization (e.g., coherence) and conventions (e.g., grammar, punctuation).
Evaluates own and others' writing using various tools (e.g., rubrics, checklists) and can communicate feedback with more preciseness and in a constructive manner. Is able to incorporate suggestions from peers and adults into later drafts.
Uses strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., edits for grammar, capitalization and punctuation; adds illustrations; shares finished product).
Prints all uppercase and lowercase letters legibly. In addition, most can legibly write in cursive. Uses appropriate margins and spacing.
Can more consistently use correct capitalization and punctuation for such things as dates, cities and states, geographic locations, special events and titles of books.
Uses complete and correct declarative (e.g., "Whales are mammals because...."), interrogative (e.g., "Why did he say that to his friend?"), imperative (e.g., "Close the door."), and exclamatory sentences (e.g., "You won the game!").
Demonstrates greater proficiency with grammar, especially plurals, pronouns, verb agreement and verb tenses.
Uses resources (e.g., dictionary, thesaurus) to find correct spellings or words with similar meanings (synonyms).
Uses standard spelling more consistently. Correctly spells multiple syllable words, contractions (e.g., "won't"), compounds (e.g., "softball"), complex spelling patterns (e.g., changing "-y" to "-ies" when forming the plural), common homonyms (e.g., "there" and "their") and previously studied words such as from science or social studies.
At this age, vocabulary and spelling begin to merge as children use words with Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes in their writing.