Grade 3The Common Core State Standards call for students in grade 3 to proficiently read grade-appropriate complex literature and informational text (RL/RI.3.10) such that they can ask and answer questions by referring explicitly to a text (RL/RI.3.1).
Students delve deeply into texts to uncover both the central message and supporting details, identifying the logical connections between sentences and paragraphs in a text. They can compare and contrast two or more works with the same topic, author, or character, describing the traits, motivations, and feelings of characters or how ideas relate to one another. Additional Standards for Reading Literature (RL.3.2-9) and Standards for Reading Informational Text (RI.3.2-9) offer detailed expectations for student academic performance in preparation for college and careers.
Helping students understand what they read is a crucial element of grade 3. In grades K-2, children begin to master the decoding skills described in the Standards for Reading: Foundational Skills. Students in grade 3 use these emerging skills to negotiate multisyllabic words, which in turn increases their fluency and confidence when reading new and unfamiliar material. Students emerge from grade 3 with an ever-expanding academic vocabulary that they use in their writing and speaking.
In support of the reading standards, students are taught to ask questions of a speaker or classmate to deepen understanding of the material in ways elaborated in the Standards for Speaking and Listening. Students read aloud fluently and offer appropriate elaboration on the ideas of classmates, building on what has been said before.
Two new Writing Standards (W.3.4andW.3.10) are introduced in grade 3. They call for students to develop and organize writing in a manner appropriate to the task and purpose and to write routinely for a range of time frames and contexts. Gaining expertise at writing narratives teaches students to describe accurately what happened and helps them recognize and select the most relevant information when reading. Students’ readings of history and science texts provide models of connecting and sequencing ideas when writing to inform/explain or to express an opinion. In all student writing, the use of specific facts and descriptive details is emphasized, as is correct spelling and punctuation.
There are two additional instructional priorities to address over the course of grade 3 regarding the foundational skills of reading:
- Grade 3 is a pivotal year for students to build their word analysis skills so that they are reliably able to make sense of multisyllabic words in books (RF.3.3).
- Reading fluency assessments administered at the start of the year (and throughout the year as necessary) should be used to determine a student’s fluency level. Students who have not yet achieved grade-level fluency and students learning English will need direct fluency instruction. Like their more proficient peers, they will need opportunities to build fluency through independent reading and opportunities to analyze closely how syntax and the meaning(s) of the text influence expression and phrasing (RF.3.4).