Third grade is when students begin the shift from learning to read to reading to learn. This is when they’ll be expected to get information from text, and do more with what they’re reading. 

Tip 1: Series, like The Boxcar Children, Captain Underpants, and Magic Tree House, are great for getting kids to read, and read some more! The benefit of a series is that kids get to know the characters, so they can pay more attention to the plot and setting. (To get the most out of a series, consider partnering with families that all have third graders, each family buys a few books in the series and the kids can rotate the books among themselves.)

Tip 2: As kids progress in reading, motivation becomes more and more important and it’s important for kids to have some time to read what the want. Check out different genres, particularly funny books for boys, or poetry books that are witty and appeal to third graders (think: Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky).

Tip 3: Show your child a “mind trick” when you show them how to summarize anything (a recipe, a television episode, a day) in a few sentences and then how to apply that to reading.

Tip 4: Ask your child’s teacher for a list of irregularly spelled words that your child should know. (Irregularly spelled words like “would”, “two”, and “water” don’t follow the usual phonic or spelling rules. We just have to memorize them.) Then, decide how you want to practice them. Your child may want to use computer programs (Wordle, for example) to play with how the words look, or they may want to use flashcards to memorize them and see how fast they can read them.