Third Grade Reading Strategies & Skills

Third grade is a really important year as many students are making the transition from learning to read to reading to learn.  Below are some of the strategies and reading skills that we emphasize to help your child in their journey as a reader.

Determining Important Information- The strategy "Determining Important Information" helps us to pick our the most important ideas as we read.  The first line of a paragraph often tells us the main idea, but a reader should read through all the details to decide what is important information.  The reader should ask themselves, "What is the author trying to teach me?"

Inferencing- Experienced readers make inferences as they read.  Readers use what they already know and think about what they have read to make meaning.  The reader should ask themselves, "What do I already know in my brain?" and "What did I just read or see?" to make an inference not stated by the author.  Readers sometimes have to "fill in the blank" by using what they already know.

Summarizing- A summary is a statement in your own words that gives the most important ideas from what you have read.  Readers determine important information, make inferences, and visualize when summarizing.  One way to easily summarize fiction is to use this sentence-  "Somebody .........Wanted........But.........So.......Then......" Somebody is the character.  Wanted would be what the character wanted.  But would be the problem.  So would be how the problem was solved, and then would be the resolution (end).

Predicting- When a reader predicts, they use information from the text along with their own knowledge and experiences to make thoughtful and informed guesses about what will happen next in the text.  When your child is reading at home, encourage them to stop and share predictions as he/she reads.  As students read on, they should check it with the text and change it as needed.

Identifying Text Structure- Recognizing how a piece of writing is organized can help a reader to understand what is happening.  There can be different ways that a text is structured.  These include:
  • Sequential (in order)
  • Cause and Effect
  • Question and Answer
  • Steps in a Process
When reading at home, encourage your child to think about and discuss how the text is organized. 

Determining Author's Purpose-  Why did the author write the text?  It is important to think about the author's purpose when reading.  Did they write the text to inform, to entertain, or to persuade you?

Ask and Answer Questions- Experienced readers ask questions about the text in order to understand what they are reading.  Asking questions helps the readers visualize, monitor comprehension, and determine important information.  Answers to the reader's questions may be found in the text, through research, or put together through the reader's own experiences.  At home parents can encourage students to stop and ask questions while they read and recognize when answers are within the text or need to be answered by the reader's own experiences and research.

Make Connections- Does something you read remind you of your own experiences?  Does it remind you of something else you have read or something in the world.  These connections help deepen understanding of a text.  Active readers make connections when they are reading.  Examples of connections include:  text to self, text to text, and text to world.

Paraphrasing- When readers paraphrase, they tell main ideas using their own words.  This helps the reader check their understanding of what they have read.  At home, parents can encourage their student to read a selection, flip the book over, and tell the main ideas in their own words. 

Visualizing-  Experienced readers make pictures and movies in their mind as they read. They use the author's descriptive words and figurative language to help them imagine the story.

Other reading skills we work on include:
  • Fluency (Reading Smoothly with Expression)
  • Synonyms (same or similiar meaning words) and Antyonyms (opposites)
  • Analogies
  • Fact versus Opinion
  • Cause and Effect
  • Contractions
  • Homonyms and Homophones
  • Prefixes, Suffixes, & Root/Base Words
    • Prefixes that mean not (in-, im-, dis-, un-, non-, il- )
    • Suffixes that mean one who (-er, -or, -ar)