Third Grade English Help

Is your third grader struggling in English? If he needs a little bit of extra help outside of school, then keep reading to find out ways that you can help your child develop his or her English skills.

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Helping Your Third Grader with English

What's Expected of Third Graders

Usually, third graders gain an understanding of basic word recognition, literary genres and reading comprehension skills. In addition, your child will probably be expected to craft cohesive words, sentences and paragraphs in brief opinion pieces and narratives.


Give your child plenty of opportunities to write. For example, read a text that appeals to your child's interests. Then, have him or her write any thoughts that spring to mind. This not only will help with writing, but also comprehension. If your child needs additional support, create a writing prompt, such as 'In what ways is the main character like you? How are you different?'

Fluency and Comprehension

Fluency is a measure of how smoothly your child's able to read third grade texts without faltering. Reading the same passage several times is often a good way to improve a child's fluency. Another way is to help your child learn sight words, like 'the' and 'as'. Make flashcards of the words, and review them every night.

Reading comprehension is how well your child is able to understand and interpret texts. Read the same text that you child's reading and then discuss it together. Ask questions about character motivation and tone. For instance, 'What do you think the hero will do when (fill in the blank) happens?' Ask your child to predict what might happen later on.

Helping ESL Children

Many elementary schools offer English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. If your child's in such a program, he or she may need special assistance to learn English as quickly as possible. Third grade ESL students are typically young enough that they will pick up English fairly quickly through peer interactions, but they still need targeted help.

If you're able to, speak to your child in simple English and illustrate what you mean through hand motions and pictures. Give short English lessons that focus on a specific language skill and then practice the skill through conversation.

Read picture books with illustrations that closely match the text. Show your child how to use the pictures to help him or her understand what's happening and create opportunities to match words with the text. If your child gets regular practice at home from you or a private tutor, it will often help him or her at school.

Getting Extra Help

If your third grader needs extra help with English you can't provide, consider hiring a private tutor or taking her or him to a learning center in your area. Talk to your child's English teacher, learning experts or other parents for advice. You can also find a lot of helpful information online.

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