Third Grade Reading Goals and Skills

Third grade is a pivotal year for your child. Learning to read with fluency and confidence will serve as a foundation for the academic demands in later grades. Read on to find out what reading goals and skills are expected for third grade and how you can help your child attain them.

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Overview of Third Grade Reading Goals and Skills


Third graders will be reading stories and poems aloud fluently, without pausing to figure out what each word means. They'll read meaningful phrases using intonation, expression and punctuation cues. They'll also learn how to determine first, second and third person narrators in literature.


Third graders will be reading closely to find main ideas and supporting details in a story. They'll be comparing two books on the same topic by looking at the most important points and key details presented. Third grade kids will make and confirm predictions by reading using the title, looking at pictures, text and using prior knowledge.

Third grade students will also make inferences and draw conclusions from text. They'll learn and practice strategies to monitor and clarify their understanding of what they've read.


In third grade, students will be distinguishing the literal and nonliteral meanings of words, such as 'something's fishy' and 'cold shoulder.' They'll also be spelling grade-level words correctly and consulting dictionaries to clarify meanings of words.

Third graders will learn the meanings of and proper use for a variety of grade-level words from literature, social studies, science and math. They'll also use tools, like context clues, prefixes and suffixes, to determine the meanings of unknown words.

How Parents Can Help

Even good readers can benefit from a home environment that's conducive to reading. Use the following tips to help your child become a successful reader.

Try to create a quiet place for your child to study, and carve out time every day when your child can concentrate on uninterrupted reading. Be available to help explain unfamiliar words. Start a family vocabulary box or jar. Have everyone write down new words they discover, add them to the box and use the words in conversation.

Make sure to take time to read aloud to your child and have him or her read to you. Read books that are slightly above your child's reading level. This will encourage your child to seek more advanced and challenging books to read.

You should also try and sit down with your child at least once a week for 15-30 minutes while he or she works on homework. This will keep you informed about what your child is working on, and it will allow you be the first to know if your child needs help with specific topics.

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