Building a Strong Vocabulary in Third Grade

Vocabulary skills will not only support your third grader's success in reading and writing, they will also help him or her succeed in other reading-intensive subjects, like social studies and science. To learn about third grade vocabulary skills and find out how you can help your child attain them, read on!

Find available tutors

Overview of Third Grade Vocabulary

In third grade, your child will practice decoding multi-syllable words and using context to interpret words with multiple meanings. In addition, he or she will understand that words and phrases can have meanings that are not literal. For example, your child may recognize that 'a piece of cake' can refer to an easy or simple task. He or she will also see the connections between words with related meanings, such as 'company' and 'companion.'

The ability to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words will help your child read increasingly challenging literature, and it will support his or her ability to comprehend informational texts from all subject areas. Having a strong vocabulary will also help improve your child's writing skills, since he or she will have access to more precise words and phrases.

How Parents Can Help Develop Vocabulary

Your child should experience vocabulary development naturally, by hearing words spoken and by seeing them used in context. One strategy you can use is to engage your child in conversations every day, and try to incorporate new words into your discussions. You can also help build your child's vocabulary by reading out loud and stopping to explain the meanings of unfamiliar words.

It may also be beneficial to read through your child's assigned school books with him or her, including textbooks in non-language arts subjects, like social studies, math and science. This allows you to locate unfamiliar words and review them with your child. This way, he or she will be able to fully comprehend the teacher's lessons and understand written questions on tests.

Internet Resources to Help Build Vocabulary

The Internet offers many games, worksheets and activities to assist in vocabulary development. For example, you can create crossword puzzles with Puzzlemaker from Discovery Education. Your child can also practice vocabulary with, a free resource that offers interactive puzzles and activities.

Spelling City allows your child to interact with vocabulary words aurally and visually. For example, you can enter your child's vocabulary words and get short lessons on each one, and you can also generate spelling tests and vocabulary games related to the words.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth