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Goals for Third Grade: Independent and Productive Reading and Writing

Children go through phases of reading development from preschool through third grade — from exploration of books to independent reading. In third grade, children continue to extend and refine their reading and writing to suit varying purposes and audiences. Find out what parents and teachers can do to support third grade literacy skills.

In third grade, children continue to extend and refine their reading and writing to suit varying purposes and audiences.

Children can:

  • read fluently and enjoy reading
  • use a range of strategies when drawing meaning from the text
  • use word identification strategies appropriately and automatically when encountering unknown words
  • recognize and discuss elements of different text structures
  • make critical connections between texts
  • write expressively in many different forms (stories, poems, reports)
  • use a rich variety of vocabulary and sentences appropriate to text forms
  • revise and edit their own writing during and after composing
  • spell words correctly in final writing drafts

What teachers do:

  • provide opportunities daily for children to read, examine, and critically evaluate narrative and expository texts
  • continue to create a climate that fosters critical reading and personal response
  • teach children to examine ideas in texts
  • encourage children to use writing as a tool for thinking and learning
  • extend children’s knowledge of the correct use of writing conventions
  • emphasize the importance of correct spelling in finished written products
  • create a climate that engages all children as a community of literacy learners

What parents and family members can do:

  • Continue to support children’s learning and interest by visiting the library and bookstores with them
  • Find ways to highlight children’s progress in reading and writing
  • Stay in regular contact with your child’s teachers about activities and progress in reading and writing
  • Encourage children to use and enjoy print for many purposes (such as recipes, directions, games, and sports)
  • Build a love of language in all its forms and engage children in conversation
Excerpted from: Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children, part 4: Continuum of Children’s Development in Early Reading and Writing. (May, 1998) A joint position of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children position statement (full-text PDF) (opens in a new window).
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