Most parents think of reading as something that percolates in kindergarten and first grade. But in third grade, it takes on added significance. That's because students move from learning to read, to using reading in every aspect of learning. Reading suddenly becomes integral to every subject in school, and will continue to be so through college and beyond. Teachers expect third graders to read lessons and chapters on their own and to be ready to discuss them in class. Fluency also continues to be important as your child needs to read most words without having to sound them out in order to understand or comprehend the text.

Of course, every state is different, but there are some key components to third grade reading expectations. Students who are working at the standard level at the beginning of third grade:

  • Read with understanding and fluency

  • Figure out unknown words in context

  • Recognize word patterns (prefixes and suffixes)

  • Communicate in written form

  • Retell stories with accuracy

  • Correct themselves while reading

  • Identify and spell many words

  • Recognize parts of a story

  • Read for more than pleasure

  • Utilize a larger sight vocabulary

Students who are working at the standard level at the end of third grade:

  • Read with understanding and fluency

  • Understand the meaning of synonyms, homonyms, and antonyms

  • Can identify the meanings of compound words

  • Use punctuation cues to add meaning to the text

  • Use graphic organizers to aid comprehension

  • Make reasonable predictions

  • Identify the main ideas of passages

  • Can identify character traits

  • Summarize what they have read

  • Have a larger sight vocabulary

Our digital reading games, along with other reading resources, are designed to develop key reading skills.

Adapted with permission from "Third Grade Success: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn" by Amy James (Jossey-Bass 2005)