3rd Grade Tutoring Work: What to Work on in Lessons

If you're tutoring a 3rd grader, it might be useful to explore topics that 3rd graders commonly learn and to consider creative ways to support children who need extra academic support. Continue reading for tutoring tips and common 3rd grade academic content.

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Help Tutoring 3rd Graders

Third graders often have a defined sense of self-worth and may enjoy expressing their views about newly learned topics. They may also readily retell experiences and events in a persuasive and informative way. This said, children at this age still rely on adults to structure many of their activities and to offer security. If you're tutoring a 3rd grader, it's useful to apply and review the skills they're expected to have while you simultaneously provide positive reinforcement for skills they've already mastered.

Common 3rd Grade Subjects

English Language Arts

In the 3rd grade, students may be asked to recall specific details within a text; locate a passage's central idea; identify a story's point of view and analyze its characters, plot, setting or tone. Students may also practice using the context of a passage to define new words, draw conclusions and assess the difference between cause and effect. Third graders can often define multi-syllable words and know how to consult a dictionary for help with words they don't already know. At this age, children should also be able to read age-appropriate stories and poems aloud without pausing. Finally, they are likely to write short, opinion-oriented essays, narrative stories and informational paragraphs.

Consider beginning your tutoring session with an assessment of the topics or skill-sets your 3rd grade child or student most struggles with. To help you assess this, you can find free, printable language arts exercises, quizzes, age-appropriate reading selections and worksheets on educational websites. You may also find home school curricula and lesson plans, which may include unique approaches for working with children on subject(s) that frustrate them.


In the 3rd grade, students focus on all forms of basic arithmetic, with an emphasis on multiplication, division, polygon identification, line and bar graph interpretation, decimal math and fractions. Students should be able to multiply and divide numerals up to 100 and can often count between 3-digit and 4-digit numbers. Third grade math curricula may also include practice telling time, counting money and learning to recognize units of measurement.

As with English language arts, you can begin tutoring a 3rd grader in math by locating the skills or math concepts that he finds most challenging. Educational websites are a great resource for worksheets, tests and quizzes oriented toward 3rd grade math subjects. Some 3rd graders may struggle with feeling motivated to work on math problems and concepts outside of the classroom. If this is the case, consider saving time during each tutoring session for math games, which your child or student can play after he's practiced relevant math problems. Lively and fun math games may increase a child's skill level and problem-solving speed; they can be found online or purchased at your local toy shop or bookstore.

Tutoring Tips

Organizing your tutoring sessions into 30-45 minute learning periods may help your child or student actively engage with a new concept without feeling overwhelmed. Modeling new information and providing several different examples may be a more fruitful way to instruct a child than completing an English assignment or math problem for her. Children often respond well to creativity and active participation, thus you might color-code your lessons in a visually exciting way, allow your student to draw pictures that relate to the day's content or ask her to explain a concept back to you. Finally, consider making time for a fun activity that is related to the session's content, like adding a new character to a story or playing a math game.

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