Reading is a big focus in third grade. You may have heard people say it’s when kids shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” In preparation, it’s important for kids to master basic “learning to read” skills, such as building vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension.
Your state’s academic standards outline the skills kids are expected to know at each grade level. Here are some of the key skills kids need to learn by the end of second grade.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 3: English Language Arts and Literacy
During second grade, kids keep building skills in reading, writing and conversation. They learn to think about and summarize what they read in many different types of texts. This includes stories, articles and books with multiple chapters.
Rising third graders are expected to know how to collect information about a single topic from a variety of sources and summarize it. They’re also expected to use editing and revising skills in their writing. Here are some ways kids build skills in these areas and get ready for third grade:
- Read fables and folktales from different cultures and identify the central message, lesson or moral in the stories.
- Read about science, social studies and history and determine the purpose and main idea of these pieces.
- Answer who, what, where, when, why and how questions about stories (both in writing and when speaking), using the rules of proper English.
- Describe how an author uses detail to support an idea.
- Gather facts about a topic and describe what was learned. (Watch a video on how third graders do research for an essay.)
- Write about an event with a beginning, middle and end.
- Write about books using details and examples to back up opinions.
Learn more about trouble with reading and writing and how to choose books at your child’s reading level. And explore fun ways to increase phonological awareness, build reading skills and encourage writing.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 3: Mathematics
By the beginning of third grade, kids start using abstract thinking skills in math. They’re working with three-digit numbers and using their understanding of place value (such as knowing that the “3” in “357” is in the hundreds place and means “300,” the “5” is in the tens place and means “50,” and so on).
Place value is an important concept. It not only helps with addition and subtraction but serves as the foundation for the rounding, multiplying and dividing that will occur in third grade.
Second graders continue to work on addition and subtraction and start learning how to measure objects and shapes. By the end of second grade, kids are expected to be able to do activities like these, in order to build needed math skills.
- Add and subtract numbers up to 100 to solve one- or two-step word problems.
- Add and subtract up to 20 using mental-math strategies (instead of having to do the calculations on paper).
- Understand the ones, tens and hundreds place in a three-digit number; begin adding and subtracting three-digit numbers.
- Read and write numbers up to 1000.
- Measure as well as estimate length using inches, feet, centimeters and meters.
- Solve problems using money values, such as knowing that a dime equals 10 pennies.
- Divide circles, squares and rectangles into equal portions (halves, thirds, quarters).
- Solve word problems using information from a bar graph.
Learn more about how kids with learning and attention issues can get tripped up by math problems. See what third-grade academic skills typically look like in action. Explore fun multisensory techniques for teaching math. Take a look, too, at how math skills develop at different ages.
How to Help Your Rising Third Grader
As your child gets older, having a strong foundation in reading and math skills will be essential to success in school. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with third-grade retention laws, so if your child is having trouble you can speak with the teacher to see what supports are available. It’s never too early to ask for help!
Try playing games to improve math skills. As for improving reading skills, continuing to read to your child and helping him work on reading comprehension is a good way to get ready for third grade.