Your children will still read, write, and do math, of course, but the way they do them will start to shift. This year, and increasingly in fourth and fifth grades, they will move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” and from “learning to write” to “writing to communicate.” I will still guide them closely, but I will also supply them with the tools needed to become more independent workers and learners. This is the year where one of the major life skills I hope to begin to instill in your child is responsbility and independence.
Reading: Picture books, especially long ones, may still be on a few third grade suggested reading lists, but chapter books are the required reading source. Encourage your kids to read, read, read; and afterward to talk, talk, talk, about the stories. Visit my reading strategies page on this site to encourage your children become better readers.
Writing: The third grade shift in reading runs directly parallel to a change in writing, as kids now expand their early skills into paragraphs and stories that make a point. Their “writing to communicate” may still take some wild birdwalks, but by the end of third grade, expect significant progress. At the end of every reading passage the children are given an open-ended response to answer. This it to check for understanding of the reading selection as well as allowing children to develop their writing skills in preparation for the NJ ASK3. For open ended responses, they are taught to start with turning the question around into a statement in order to develop their main idea sentence. Then they are taught to pull events and examples from the story to construct the details of their paragraph. Finally, they must restate the main idea for their closing sentence. We will have plenty of practice with this type of writing and samples will be sent home throughout the year for your review.
Math: Third grade takes off from first and second grade fundamentals, and it’s a marvelous time for most kids. During the year, expect that they will fully master addition and subtraction of numbers between 0 and 12; and that they will move on to understand and use multiplication, early fractions, and even some decimals. As you help kids move into these exciting new levels of abstraction, it’s especially helpful to anchor them in real-life materials and discovery exercises. Ordering pizza? Go wild dividing it into fractional pieces. Counting allowance? Multiply weekly amounts and start calculating monthly or even yearly income. You’ll certainly have fun—but you’ll be building lifelong intellectual connections as well.