Most developmentally appropriate third graders can:
1. Perform self care: shower-bathe, personal hygiene
2. Do physical tasks: ride a two wheel bike, tie shoes, throw a ball and understand rules of the game such as soccer or Little League and therefore, sportsmanship
3. Read, write, do math and handle simple word problem concepts
4. Understand abstracts: why we wear eye glasses, braces, concepts of age
5. Concepts of right from wrong, understand discipline, handle chores-pets
6. Build friendships without parent prompting
7. Understand differences-male/female--the ages of 7-11 are when we learn sexuality (which means how men and women behave maleness vs. femaleness) what is alike and what is different. Understand there are different kinds of families.
8. Start with executive skills such as organization, punctuality, schedules. Examples are not forgetting books or homework, organizing a back pack, knowing today is soccer practice, being on time for the bus or car pool (doesn't always work!)
Of course, each family, school, community may have different expectations of their third graders. It is a time learning difficulties, ADHD etc. come to light and need to be diagnosed and remedied.
I hope this helps.
Wayne A. Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics.