Third grade is a big year for reading. It’s generally considered the year kids shift from learning to read to reading to learn. In preparation for third grade, it’s important for kids to master basic reading skills and start focusing more on reading comprehension. If your child is still struggling with matching letters with sounds (decoding), it could be a sign of a reading issue that needs to be addressed.
Here are some other key skills kids are expected to learn by the end of second grade, according to the Common Core State Standards that many states are starting to use.
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 activities kids do to 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 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.
- Write about an event with a beginning, middle and end.
- Write about books using details and examples to back up opinions.
Skills to Get Ready for Grade 3: Mathematics
By the beginning of third grade, kids start 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.
As your child gets older, having a strong foundation in reading skills will be essential to success in school. Math and problem-solving skills are also very important. If your child is having trouble with these, consider speaking with the teacher to see what supports are available or what other options you can explore to help your child. It’s never too early to ask for some extra help!
Teaching your child about place value can help prepare him for third-grade math. Try playing games to improve math skills. As for improving reading skills, learn how to find the best books at your child’s reading level. Encouraging your child to read and helping him work on reading comprehension is a good way to get ready for third grade.