3rd Grade English Lessons and Activities

In 3rd grade, students are beginning to analyze texts closely by considering main themes, character development and genres. At home, you can help your child develop and apply literary skills using the following lessons and activities.

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English Lessons for 3rd Graders


Building a strong vocabulary can help your child's comprehension skills because she'll recognize more words in a text. Teach her to define an unknown word by using context clues. These can include the words around the new word, pictures and anything else on the page that can provide clues to the word's meaning. Context clues are helpful because they encourage your child to become an independent reader without relying on an adult or a dictionary to find the answer.

When she gets to a word she doesn't know, model your thinking process using the context clues. Use the following sentence as an example.

The dog scrounged the backyard for his lost bone.

In this sentence, scrounged is the unknown word. Use context clues, like 'lost bone,' to deduce that 'scrounge' means to seek, since the dog doesn't know where his bone is.

Point of View

In 3rd grade, students learn to differentiate their own point of view from that of a character. Practice at home by reading a story with your child. Ask him questions, like, 'What would you have done in this situation?' or 'What do you think of the main character?' Then, fold a piece of paper in half (long ways) and give it to your child. Label the left column, What I Think and the right column What the Character Thinks.

As you review the main events in the story, your child will compare his own thoughts to the character's thoughts. This activity helps students read a text carefully and compare their own perspective with another's.

Book Review

At home, read a book series with your child. After reading at least two by the same author, help your child compare the plots, characters and themes. If necessary, use a graphic organizer, like a Venn diagram, which will help your child visualize the similarities and differences. Then, have your child write a book review comparing the two books and explaining which she liked better.


Many books at the 3rd grade level include pictures. As you read a book together, discuss what effect the picture has on the plot. The following questions can get you started:

Did you picture the main character like that?
Would you have imagined the scene like this if you hadn't seen it?
Does the picture make the story funnier/scarier/more interesting?
Is the setting accurately portrayed?
How do you think the character is feeling in this picture?

After discussing the pictures in the book, have your child create her own illustration to go along with a scene. Help her refer back to descriptions about the setting and character descriptions as necessary.

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